Lessons Learned


elaine_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Lessons Learned
Synopsis Gunshots, hurt and time have crossed the path from last meeting to this.
Date March 2, 2011

Elaine's Hospital Room

Her near-constant companions were both gone, for once. Graeme had finally headed back, and Quinn had tiptoed off, leaving Elaine quietly in a hospital bed alone. She's not watching TV or resting or some such nonsense. No, she's curled up with a book, nestled under the covers a bit as she reads in silence. Hopefully lunch wouldn't be something disgusting or she might just have to send Quinn out for something edible.

Respect is what kept Sable away, or so she insists. That maybe actually fear or perhaps guilt or something effectively less flattering to her character is what made it take until Wednesday to visit a bedbound Elaine is something Sable would prefer not to entertain. And okay, really, there is some part of her worry that is selfless and legitimate. Upset people don't heal as well after surgery. And Sable cannot know if and how her presence may upset Elaine.

But her own concern, as well as an understanding that to not show would be much, much more cruel than to show up too early or even too late, make Sable's visit inevitable. Not bothering to sign in, sneaking her way past the watchful staff, Sable arrives at Elaine's door and knocks, thrice before announcing, "'s me."

Hearing the vertically challenged girl's voice causes Elaine to sit up a little, fingers fumbling without looking for the bookmark before she finds it. She tucks the bookmark in and the book shut, setting the thing aside as she peers towards the doorway. "Hey," she offers. It wasn't that she wasn't expecting Sable to come by, it's just that she wasn't expecting to find her alone. They haven't been alone since—a long time. Doe-eyes watch Sable carefully. "Come on in."

The wolf eyed girl eases into the room, tugging the door mostly shut, leaving it just a crack open and checking Elaine's expression to see that this is a-okay. She sidles over to her bedside, hands in her pockets, gaze roving over the bedridden girl. "Tryin' t' kill me?" Sable finally says, with an uneven grin, "make my ticker quit with worry?"

The tiny crack seems amenable to the redhead, and Elaine leans back against her pillow as she watches the yellow-eyed gaze. "If I was trying to kill you, Sable, you would have been there. Seeing all that blood would have made your heart stop. Wouldn't have been surprised if mine did, but Quinn did a good job of holding things together. She's got some strength to her. I dunno that I would have kept it together in her position."

"Don' have t' tell me, hon," Sable says, grabbing a chair and spinning it so she can straddle its back, leaning on arms crossed over the head, "no better soul clings t' our fallen world, t' be sure." Her lips purse. "Y'all gonna be okay, is what I hear," she tilts her head, smiling a little, "so I figure, y'all got some strength 'f yer own, eh? Toughness, 't least."

"Got a blood transfusion. I should be out tomorrow. Got lucky. The phrase is 'dodged a bullet', but in this case I both did and I didn't. Could've been a lot worse. If it was any different of an angle, could've messed up my innards." Elaine explains. "But I guess I'm tough enough to live through that. I've got stuff to do, my life's not done yet."

"Not nearly, for certain," Sable says, edging her chin up over a couple of her knuckles, "I didn't get no details, hon. I'd wanna know. I mean," she makes a face, "mebbe know's an awful strong word. But if th' tale's somethin' y' wanna bother tellin', here are my ears."

Elaine looks back over at Sable. "Since you wanna do something akin to know but less so… I'll fill you in." She idly tugs her bottom lip between teeth, seeming to think how to explain. "There was this kid in one of my classes… not really the greatest… and of course I just breezed through the class with my ability. Didn't think twice. I think he must've got jealous or something, or hated Evolved or something, but I was meeting Quinn for lunch and he saw me there and he just shot me."

Sable's expression darkens as soon as a culprit resolves into view. As it happened, thought as to the shooter hadn't entered Sable's mind, all room given to the one shot. Now that Elaine is accounted for, bullet dodged just enough, there's space for new considerations. "Spiteful motherfucker's where right 'bout now? Some cell, I trust?" her tone is inky enough that 'I trust' sounds like a threat - if he isn't in a cell…

"Police got him. Quinn did some light-showy stuff and stunned him and stuff. So… not sure what'll happen with that, but he's not out and about. He's definitely away," Elaine points out. "Bullet just hit my side and Graeme pulled me down. Quinn got pretty pissed and did that light stuff, then just helped me stay focused. I think all the blood was freaking me out."

"Figure y'all'll be asked t', like, testify?" Sable inquires, having apparently watched a crime show or two during her years of delinquency. She doesn't sound like she honestly is sure of what she's saying, just trying to suss it out on guesses. "But that sonovabitch behind bars f'r good?"

Elaine gives a small nod. "I guess so. I mean, police've got my contact info… I don't really know where that'll go. I suppose he'll stay behind bars for a while, if we're lucky. I'm not sure how it'll work."

"Hon," Sable says, arching her brow, "luck ain't got nothin' t' do with it. Who'll see him locked up save you, eh? I mean, sure, mebbe y' don' wanna go up in front 'f no jury 'r nothin', but Quinn w's there. Like… what's bein' done 'bout all this? I ain't one t' leave a matter 'f justice up t' no trick 'f fortune."

"I'm sure… I'm sure the police will talk to me more about it. I don't know, I feel bad for the guy… I was thinking about helping him. Even thought that, and then suddenly he shot me. Just… I dunno." Elaine rubs her head a little bit. "I hadn't really thought that much about what to do about it."

Sable gives a huff. "Not meanin' t' burden y'," she says, "shouldn't've brought it up. Jus'… well, I ain't hardly rational, those I care for meet harm. Jus' he that hurt y' better not come within a swing's reach 'f me, elsewise he won't resemble his mugshots no more."

There's a weak smile from Elaine. "Thanks. Kinda nice to know people are still looking out for me. This stuff reminded me of that," she says, rubbing the back of her neck. She lets out a sigh. "The whole not-moving-around much thing is gonna bug me for a bit, though."

Sable's expression grows wan. "I hope y'all know that there's naught I won't lend a hand with, if mine are paws fit f'r the work," she says, settling back onto her arms now that she's not contemplating violent retribution, "'n' mebbe y'all c'n get one 'f them wheelchairs, eh? Get Quinn t' roll y' 'round, like y' got yerself one 'f them, like, Chinese things. Uh… rickshaw?"

"I don't think that'll be necessary. I'm probably just gonna stay in bed and on the couch for like a week or something. After that I'll just be careful for a while and take it easy," Elaine looks to Sable. "I'm sure Quinn'll take good care of me, but I'll call you if I need something."

"Hesitate only on yer behalf, hon, not mine," Sable says, giving a little nod, legs shifting so her ankles can hook around the back legs of the chair. She begins to rock in her seat. Fooorward. Baaack. Fooorward. Baaack. "Weight off my mind 'n' heaviness off my heart t' know y'all are okay," she cracks a smile, "better yet, that yer a fuckin' badass, keeps kickin' after gettin' plugged."

"Mm, I don't know that I'm a badass… but I'm tough enough to keep going. Can't just die on you all yet." Elaine says, looking to Sable. "So… no need to worry. I'm not going anywhere yet."

"Y'all better not be," Sable says, "tolja I wasn't goin' nowheres. Only fair y' meet me halfway, eh? Hell, I guess y'all are stayin' put f'r a while no matter what, eh?" a smirk, attempted playful, "silver linin's, mebbe?"

"Yeah, you promised that," Elaine agrees, her smile still there but her eyes looking guilty. "You won't see me running off somewhere anytime soon. Got that you can count on, at least."

"Best y' c'n do is wheel yer way t'wards th' nearest exit," Sable says, smiling back, no guilt there but fondness plenty, "and those skinny little arms ain't gonna outpace me 'r Quinn as we go boundin', chasin' after." There's a pause here. "Time's 'bout now that I'd set a kiss t' yer fair brow, miss. But here I am, askin' b'fore takin' liberties."

"I'm sure someone would chase me this time," Elaine agrees, then noting Sable's request with a calm expression. "Take your liberties. You've still got claim to that particular right, I feel." Her voice is soft.

Sable doesn't take that right, however, her brow lifting instead. "Whassat yer gesturin' towards, all allusive? 'This time'? Hon, I ain't much f'r beatin' 'round th' bush. You wanna say somethin, y'all jus' say it."

Elaine frowns, heavily, her gaze drifting downwards. "I didn't mean anything by it. It was a joke." She swallows hard, shifting uncomfortably in the bed. "I don't have anything to say about it."

"Naw, but if y've got time 'n' mind," Sable suggests, head tilting a little as she assesses Elaine's reaction, "y'all explain it t' me? So's I c'n find it funny, as jokes are meant t' be, eh?"

"It's a joke that's not funny," Elaine admits after a moment. "It's a sad joke. I don't think you'd want to hear any kind of dumb shit like that." She shifts on the bed once more, wincing, but that doesn't seem to bother her too much in her attempt to get comfortable.

"Mebbe so," Sable concedes, "but cat's outta th' bag, hon. 'N' that y' said it, 'n' said it t' me… makes me feel like mebbe you want me t' hear it, whether 'r not I want jus' th' same."

"Sorry," Elaine mutters, hands slowly taking a grip on the bedsheets. "I fucked everything up. So I wanted to apologize for it. I deserved everything I got." One hand reaches up to rub at her eye.

"That ain't a particularly funny joke," Sable agrees, brows knitting, "but I dunno what that's got t' do with 'this time'. This really somethin' I should jus' leave well 'nuff 'lone, hon? I don't wanna press, but I don' wanna have you bottle up no poison neither."

"It was a joke, you know, because I left and was alone and if I were to try and wheel myself out the door people could have caught me before I left, that sort of thing," Elaine says, hands gripping the bedsheets, gaze downcast. "Bottling up shit is what I do, Sable. There isn't anyone living who knows how much and of what type, but there's always some there."

"Honey," Sable says, brows lifting in slight incredulity, "y'all want folks t' run after y', mebbe next time y' should leave 'em notice as t' where th' fuck y've gone, so's they know where t' start. Burned tasties and a note sayin' not t' worry ain't exactly much t' go on. Whatall d' y' mean, 'xactly? Y'all left 'n' was alone, but shit, seemed like y' left t' be alone."

Elaine's protest, at first, isn't likely the one that Sable expects. "I didn't burn them. Quinn did. I gave her instructions and everything on how to bake them." She peers over at the yellow-eyed girl. "I did, a little. I just needed to get out, to figure some shit out. And I did. It's just that leaving like I did was clearly the wrong choice. I fucked up, and I'm always gonna have to live with the consequences of that."

The need that Elaine feels to defend her own baking prowess pulls a smile unbidden and uncontrollable to Sable's lips, and she ends up biting the lower one for its insubordination, very pointy canine dimpling the flesh as she tries to keep her amusement, always experienced as humor and fondness, in check. "Gal, y'all never know," she says, eventually, "how th' set'll end, or what's gonna be played f'r th' encore."

And this is when she exercises her right, rising from her seat and shuffling over, leaning in to press a kiss against Elaine's forehead. It's not tentative or ginger. It's entirely familiar. "And while I hear y'," she says, as she leans back, "I'll admit, beautiful, I'm busy bein' glad y' live still."

Elaine's eyes drift shut, the redhead silent for a long moment before she opens her eyes again. "I was never good at the whole music thing anyways." She looks down at her hands for a long moment. "Glad I'm alive too, and I hope it'll stay that way." If she's referring to staying alive or being glad about it, is unclear.

Sable isn't a keen enough to pick up on this potential looseness of attribution. She takes the words simply, and in simple meaning. Glad to be alive. Hope to stay alive. That is the common understanding, and the level of comprehension Sable operates at; she's not not stupid, but she has the wrong kind of cunning. "I'd number m' days t' make yers longer," she says, and moves back beside her seat. "Ain't gonna haunt y'," is said as she rocks from foot to foot, shifting weight, "not if y' don' want me to. But I'll stick 'round 'til y' either had 'nough or someone else comes, more worth yer attention, eh?"

"Don't devalue yourself, Sable. Either by days or by worth of attention," Elaine suggests. "I wouldn't ever ask you to do something like that. I shot someone for your sake, once, I wouldn't ask the same of you or for you to do anything that would take from your number of days." She insists. "You get to decide how long you stick around for. It is your choice, Sable, not mine. I'm not going anywhere."

The memory Elaine refers to, relatively fresh for the redhead, is distant and made strange by its ancient and forceful repression. It was so long ago for her, the bus, her own voice, own eyes, staring back at her. Long ago and not known for all that time. "Y'all should know I'd put someone in th' ground on yer behalf, and that ain't no joke. Hell," Sable cracks a grin, points at her arm, "fucked up my playin' arm f'r you. Thass a good 'n'," her grin subsides into a more manageable smile, and she nods, "got plenny folks lookin' after y'."

The yellow eyed girl lifts a foot and sets it on her seat, hand resting on the back of it. "Y'all seem pretty insistent on that point, hon. Why ain't it yer choice, if I'm givin' it t' y'? Ain't it my choice t' offer, too?"

"Yeah, but that was under different circumstances," Elaine murmurs, recalling the busted arm. It seemed like an entirely different life." She peers back over. "I don't want to have to make a decision like that. It's not fair to put it on me." Seems like a simple enough decision, but Elaine wants nothing to do with it.

"Same life, hon," Sable says, "mebbe different souls. I don't pretend t' unnerstand nothin'," she shrugs, "mebbe not fair, no, but mebbe not fair t' put it on me, either. Between two unfairnesses, hon, how does a soul choose?"

"I'm of no position to make any decision involving you, lest it break my heart again," Elaine states, firmly. "You are your own keeper. If you stay or go, that is your choice. I can't ask anything of you."

Sable considers this carefully for a moment, head tilting and eyes slightly narrowed, as if she needs to get Elaine into proper focus. "…how's 'bout what you want, then? Not decidin', jus' wishin'."

"That doesn't matter, Sable. Anything I want or wish or whatever… it doesn't make a difference, because things can't change now." Elaine's gaze drifts away again, towards the door. "If you wish to stay, I wouldn't mind it, however. That's the best I can give you."

Sable considers Elaine's words with a thoughtful little wrinkle in her brow. At length she nods, and settled back into her seat, scooting back so she can rest arms and chin on the top of the backrest, her back nearly straight. "Stayin' is truly what I wish t' do," she says, with an odd sort of elocution, "and yer not mindin' it is good 'nough, as yer best ought t' be."

"Good." It almost sounds as if Elaine wants to say 'I like that', but for whatever reason, the sentiment is withheld. Her fingers shift on the bed, moving closer towards Sable is, fingers twitching for a moment, though they make no movement except to curl against the sheet.

Sable's eyes flick down to Elaine's twitching fingers, then up to Elaine's face and her doe-eyes. Back to the fingers. Back to her face, eyes. Sable's brows inch upward, questioning tacitly. One of her hands loosens from the elbow it clasps, forearm hanging just slightly loose.

The fingers don't move, remaining where they are against the sheets, her eyes flickering away from Sable. Elaine wets her lips silently. "So how have you been? We haven't really talked in… a very long time."

"Workin'," Sable answers, "but not- not like workin' workin'. But, like, workin' on a project. Musical 'n' all. Only, not a musical. But like…" she winces, having tied herself up with her own circumlocution, "a rock opera. Sorta thing." She peers up at Elaine. Down at her hand, very quickly, then up to Elaine again. "Gonna fly t' Atlanta f'r a bit, reclaim m' name. Get a job. One, mebbe won't get in th' way 'f," she lifts her hand, taps next to the bandage on her shoulder, the one covering the glancing gunshot wound.

"Fine fuckin' work, by th' way, in th' field. I was 'bout t' burst a fuckin' vessel when that sumbitch grabbed you, but y'all handled it like a goddamn commando."

"Atlanta? You're leaving?" Elaine says, unable to hide the sound of disappointment in her voice. Her gaze drifts down to her fingers, which curl around the blanket again before she looks to Sable. "What? Oh, that…" She murmurs. "Ah, well, doesn't mean I wasn't scared shitless. Not exactly the most pleasant thing for some Russian to grab you from behind. Said he was a friend, but… how often do you grab friends from behind like that?" She visibly shivers. "Dunno who he was… but he helped out, at least."

"Not leavin', hon, don't worry," Sable says, and she tries not to sound gratified at Elaine's disappointment - any thaw makes her optimism bloom like an over-eager snowdrop. "Gonna come back right quick. Jus'- well, I'm gonna go on-grid, y' see. Reclaim m' name, all that."

Sable's hand descends, arm extending until her elbow near locks, all as if with the pull of gravity alone. Her fingertip catches on the edge of the bedsheet. "Proud 'f y'," she says, chin dipping, "real sorry you got jumped like that. Honest, I had y' on lookout 'cause I figured- safest thing t' do. Fuckin' wrenched m' guts, t' think y' were in harm's way." She wrinkles her nose. "Fool 'f me t' ask you on a goddamn mission, I guess, if safety's first. But," she shrugs, "y'all were who I wanted t' be there," she dips her had, "and I'm glad y' were there. We got th' job done, eh?"

Elaine can't hide her relief at the fact that the Sable's just coming right back. "Not such a bad plan," she agrees. She doesn't look at Sable's hand, but the tip of a finger comes to rest against the shorter woman's fingertip on the bedsheet. "It wasn't foolish of you. It was a safe enough location. Should've been four of us anyways, so we'd never have to be alone, splitting up. But you can't say it was a bad thing, me being there. I wanted to help, and I think I did. We got it done. We helped people."

Sable does look when they make that tiniest bit of contact, and she glances up at Elaine with an expression that says without words. "See, thass why I wanted y' 'round. Yer quick like I ain't. Four people, 'course. Hell," she grins, "but we did get it done. We're risin' stars. We gotta meet with the brass, talk it out, figure out what t' do. I want y' there, too. You got a way 'f thinkin' I don't, we need."

"I'm the strategist?" Elaine's hand and fingertip stay where they are, just with the slight contact, though she laughs at the idea of being the brains of an operation. "I think I'd like that. If I can help, I'd like to. Don't got as much spirit as you do, though."

"What th' hell's spirit, love?" Sable says, laughing, fingertip nudging at fingertip, "what do I got that you don't?"

"I dunno, you're the one getting shot running around and rescuing people, and I'm getting shot for taking classes," Elaine laughs, peeking at Sable carefully.

"Yeah, but y'all were also runnin' around rescuin' people," Sable points out, "'n' yer way more serious 'bout gettin' shot," she gestures at Elaine, reclining in a hospital bed, "I mean… I don't think I intend t' top this." A hopeful grin accompanies the stupid joke.

"You aren't allowed to top that, okay? Because if you got as bad off as me, you'd be in here itching to get out, bust your stitches and bleed all over the place." Elaine states, shifting a little in said hospital bed, finger bumping against Sable's.

"Arright, arright," Sable says, snickering a little, "y'all are reignin' champion 'f gettin' plugged. I'll accept my runner up award with grace 'n' humility." She scoots her hand up just a little, curling tips to hook against tips. "I'd make a poor ailin' damsel anyways."

"You don't have the long flowing hair to be a damsel," Elaine insists, looking proud. "I've got the hair and the skin and the attitude for being the wounded damsel." There's a tiny brush of fingertips against fingertips as Sable's fingers curl, and she glances back to the yellow-eyed girl with a smile.

"Aye, y' manage it in a pinch," Sable says, "'n' sounds like Quinn makes a real fine knight, hero 'n' savior, eh? How'd she manage it, blindin' th' sonovabitch? Was it like… a grenade 'f light 'r?" She leaning forward in the chair, interested openly demonstrated, brows lofted expectantly.

"Buncha flashes, really. She kind of just made like a flash bomb, yeah. Flashed rapidly. Kinda stunning. I think those are the kind of things they warn you will give seizures." Elaine chuckles at the thought. "She's better in a tight spot than you might think."

"Hey now, I've never estimated her," Sable says, snickering, "though I wouldn't wanna trust her with no egg 'n' spoon race. Poor girl's as clumsy as a hog on ice."

"And she can't cook, but… she tries her best," Elaine giggles, looking back at Sable, a genuine smile on her features. "I can't say I've ever seen a hog on ice though."

"Can't say I have either," Sable admits, "but y'all get a pretty clear sense 'f it, dontcha. Not that there's anythin' hoggish 'bout our dear Quinn. She's th' picture 'f grace 'n' elegance. It's just when that picture gets t' movin' that th' facade slips. 'course," she dips her head, "grace is a quality deeper, in th' soul."

"She's beautiful when you get her all dressed up. We've gone to see a few plays." Elaine says, shutting her eyes for a moment. "It's actually rather cute, the way she's clumsy. Makes her endearing."

"Ah, fancy getups," Sable says, with a knowing and fond smile, "I know they design 'em t' be took off intimate-like. Th' zipper up th' back?" She taps the side of her nose, "in confidence now, but which 'f y' tends t' take th' other's zipper first after y'all get back from that play?"

There's a warm laugh from Elaine as she glances to Sable. "Depends on who's feeling like what. I do it a lot, though, but it depends on what I'm wearing, too. Sometimes she just can't resist."

"I've no doubt," Sable says, with a crooked grin, "t' be sure, though, sometimes y' know jus' on th' walk back, th' glances y' share, the touch 'f yer hands… already y' figured out jus' how it's gonna go down th' moment th' door closes behind y'."

"Of course," Elaine replies, laughing a little more. "Usually you can tell. Quinn's pretty good at that stuff too. Got nice eyes." She peers at Sable for a long moment. "How'd we get talking about this?"

"'Cause it's a topic we know, 'n' a subject we love," Sable says, with a small shrug 'simple as that', "ain't precisely th' first time we've spoke on Quinn. A mutual soft spot, hon. Nice t' have one 'f those."

"Yes, I suppose," Elaine replies, though her lips are pressed into a fine line for a moment. "How are things with Delilah? Been learning the joys of baby-sitting Walter yet?"

"Real fine," Sable says, dipping her head, "been passin' on my earthly wisdom t' th' kid while he's still too young t' get smart 'n' talk back," whatever earthly wisdom that might be, maybe you'd have to ask Walter, "not my first baby, y' know. Back in m' second foster home, was a shrieker I had t' take care 'f. Awful, awful fuckin' thing. Foster mum made me change it when she wasn't feelin' up t' it." Sable sticks her tongue out.

While she had mentioned Walter, Elaine noticed Sable's lack of discussion on the topic of their redheaded friend. She gives a small grin. "Changing babies is horrible, but once you get over that they're friggin' adorable."

"Dunno 'bout that, honest," Sable says, with a wrinkled nose, "I can't wait f'r 'im t' get big 'nuff I c'n play pranks on 'im. Kids ain't any real fun 'til they're big and y'all c'n start shootin' t' shit with 'em. Mostly now I jus' tell yarns I dunno he even understands," her lips quirk up at one corner, a smile, "but it goes over good with mama bear, 'n' her good graces are gold, eh?"

"A lot 'f stuff, different way," Sable repeats, "I think y'all got somethin' there.  'cause it's a tickin' brain in there.  Just don't got words yet."

"Yeah, it's quite the thing… babies are sweet things. And they'll always need you… I think I like that concept. Being always needed like that." Elaine smiles a little more warmly than before.

"They need someone, arright," Sable says, dipping her head, "'til they don't," she tilts her head, "y'all know how I came 'bout?  Far as I know, that is."

"Don't think you ever told me, Sable… and I dunno that parents ever stop really needing their kids. At least the ones halfway worth a damn." Elaine remarks, a tiny frown tugging at the corner of her lips now.

"Whassitcalled… safe haven," Sable says, scratching at the nape of her neck, an old gesture, sometimes emergent - nervous, or just agitated, "dropped off with m' name by m' mum.  Was a state brat all th' days 'cept maybe my first," she arches her brow, "but y'all were talkin' bout babies needn't their parents.  Parents mebbe need their kids, dunno, but kids grow up t' not need their parents, 'n' that's if their also halfway worth a damn."

"You stop needing people and you run the risk of turning into a monster. If you don't need people, then what good are they but to get in your way? It's a dangerous thing to start feeling, I think and sure, you gotta move on with your life sometime, but… doesn't mean you don't need them. You just don't rely on them." Elaine tries to explain.

"Aw, y'all are gettin' all definitional on me," Sable says, giving a huff, "all's I know is, I raise a kid right, I don' mind mebbe he goes on t' f'rget me.  If he's clear sighted 'bout his own life, true t' his own heart, then thought 'f 'is warden don't matter so much, figure," she shrugs, "but fuck if I know anythin'.  Never 'xactly thought m'self one t' be in the child rearin' racket."

"But…" Elaine's lip quivers a little. "Someone you helped raise? Them forgetting about you? It… it wouldn't break your heart at all?" She questions, swallowing a bit hard. "Sorry, I just.. um.. I mean…"

Sable tips her head back and forth. "I mean…" she starts, then, "y'all ever hear 'f that Johnny Cash song, 'A Boy Name Sue'?"

"I've heard of it, but I'm not sure I remember the lyrics," Elaine replies, glancing downward.

Sable gives a chuckle. "It's a fine tune.  Real funny.  Bit long, 'but th' tale goes… it goes that there's the boy, eh?  And his dad ran out on him and his ma when he was three.  But before he goes, he names th' poor boy 'Sue'.  So 'course he gets pummeled real hard as a kid, had to get real tough, real mean, and by th' time he's grown up, he's decided, gonna find that son of a bitch named him Sue.  And one night, he finds 'im in a bar, and they have th' fuck at it, and it ends with th' dad at gunpoint.  So, like… this is what th' dad says…" Sable clears her throat, and begins to sing in a lazy, country twang:

Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'

Sable lapses back into speaking voice, though her voice retains some of that drawl. "So, y' see, all sorts 'f parentin', all sorts 'f gettin' someone ready f'r the world.  Different strokes, eh?"

Elaine listens to the twang of Sable's singing, her lower lip drawn up between her teeth as she chews. "But the kid's always gonna remember his dad, cause of that. You never really forget someone who impacted you, good or bad, much as you'd like."

"Remember?  Sure," Sable says, nodding, "but need?  Quite th' fuckin' reverse."

"Doesn't matter," Elaine mutters, shifting in her bed. "Need's a stupid fucking word anyways."

Sable blinks.  When she speaks, it's soft, but deliberate. "That's a sudden shift t' minor, hon."

"Well, it is! It's a stupid word," Elaine says, free hand moving to try and tuck the covers in more around her, as if to ward off the cold or some other idea that wanted to sleep between her sheets.

"Can't say I agree.  Goes 'gainst my gospel," Sable replies, voice still low.  She lapses into song once more, just for two lines, "ooo- and I suddenly see you- ooo- did I tell you I need you."

"D-Didn't think you h—" Elaine stops, shaking her head a little. "Sorry. You'd have thought my bullet went to my brain or something. Place is just bringing me down, I guess…" She says, looking away.

"Y'all really want t' let that there thought wander off, unfinished," Sable inquires.

"Thought was wrong, didn't need saying," Elaine explains, sucking on the lower lip she had bitten earlier. "I'm sorry."

"No need t' apologize f'r thinkin'," Sable says, dipping her head, "'specially not with a brain as suited for it as yerself.  Thinkin', perhaps, is a distraction from my true callin'."

"No, I need to apologize for what I was thinking because it wasn't nice, Sable," Elaine says, glancing over at the other woman. "Been swallowing poison too much for too long."

Sable's brows knit, but she nods. "Arright," she says, sounding contrite in that confused way kids do when they know they did wrong but don't know exactly what it was, "I- I c'n go," to which she adds, "I wanna stay, though."

Elaine's lower lip quivers. "You don't have to go, Sable. It's nice seeing you again. J-Just brought a few things into my head, seeing you here…"

"'course it did," Sable says, and she reaches out to touch Elaine's arm through the sheets, "'n' there's no shame or wrong in that.  'N'… Lord knows I got shit rattlin' 'round up in my attic too I jus'," she wrinkles her nose, "I deal with it different.  Played at bein' a real boy too long, eh?"

"How do you feel, Sable?" Elaine questions, hands moving to settle in her lap, for lack of anything better to do with them. "You just… you left, and you never said anything to me."

"Depends," Sable admits, "day by day, moment by moment.  What I'm doin'.  How occupied my mind is with, like," she gestures generally, "out there.  But yeah… when it's just me 'n' me… it ain't precisely pretty.  I'm a soul repentant.  Trouble is, repentance ain't redemption."

"No," Elaine agrees, "it isn't. I just don't know that I'm every gonna feel okay without really… I mean, I… fuck, I don't even know what I'm asking for. I just wanna know… dunno what I even want to know. There's just…" She swallows hard again. "I don't know how you could do what you did to me."

"I got reasonin'," Sable says, though there is no defense in her voice, "don' think it makes one fuckin' bit 'f difference.  Such ill shouldn't be compared - all of its wickedness.  But I'm jus'- I need t' do better, hon.  Need t' be better.  'N' I know there's someone who'll do right by you like I never did."

"You're real stupid, you know that?" Elaine murmurs, not meeting the other's gaze. "Been trying to play the part of a guy too long. If I wasn't what you needed, Sable, you shouldn't have made me think I was."

"'T'weren't that it was a lie, darlin'," Sable says, shaking her head, "but that some things are more important than jus' me.  Y'all bein' gone… I saw that clear.  Seein' how Quinn took it, seein' what I'd done.  Darlin', I lost th' right.  Quinn's been there all 'long."

"Sable, I need you to tell me something… and this is very, very important, so don't you dare tell me a lie. Did you just leave me because Quinn was in love with me? Did you give me up because you felt like someone else needed me? Or did you go to Dee because you really felt like she was better for you?" Elaine's eyes finally lift. "I need you to tell me why. Exactly why."

Sable lifts her hand to her heart and lifts her chin, signifying her honestly, before settling back into a more comfortable position.  Her mouth works a bit, and then she says, carefully. "Not jus' one or another but- most 'f all?  Because I was wrong t' begin it.  What we had- 't was beautiful, but it was stolen 'n' it was shut away.  And in th' end it wounded those I swore t' love above all else.  And Dee… she's only made me do good, Elaine.  I do no harm with her, 'n' I am at peace.  Darlin', we were th' crashin' 'f th' breakers.  Dee's a safe harbor."

There's a small nod, the answer seeming satisfactory to what Elaine seemed to be looking for. "I am glad she makes you happy, Sable. You'd better work damn hard to deserve her," she says, quietly.

"Don' I know it, hon," Sable says, with a click of her tongue, "honest labor's precisely what a sinner needs, anyhow."

"Do you ever miss it?" Elaine asks, fingers tracing lines against the sheets. "As wrong as it was?"

"Oh, honey," Sable says, with a wry chuckle, "takin' it was wrong.  Havin' it I can't seem t' regret."

"'Kay… that makes me feel a little better," Elaine admits, shifting uncomfortably again in the bed. "Nice to know that not everything is regretted."

"Dang," Sable says, shaking her head, "there was a whole fuckin' lot, in and of it's sweet solitary self I'd be hard pressed t' speak any ill of.  I jus' hope y'all c'n keep some 'f those memories fond, without tearstainin' too bad."

"I guess no one can really last in a sea…" Elaine murmurs, rubbing her arms just slightly. "I just wish you'd have ended this smarter. In some way that didn't make me feel helpless."

"That, darlin'," Sable answers, "makes two 'f us."

"Thanks for being honest, at least. You gave me a lesson in love that I guess I needed to know." Elaine comments, eyes downcast again.

Sable shakes with soft, rueful laughter. "Y'all learn more from me than ever y' figured."

"Never said I didn't expect to learn from you, I just didn't expect these to be the lessons I learned," Elaine explains.

"Thass more 'r less what I meant," Sable says, nodding, "didn't intend f'r that t' be the lesson imparted, but it's one I learned m'self, so figure it makes sense I pass it on."

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