Let Me Show You Out


colette_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Let Me Show You Out
Synopsis After an emotional reunion at the opening of the Eric Doyle Memorial Library, Colette is quickly reminded of what living with Joe and Lance was like.
Date March 6, 2018

Williamsburg, Brooks Residence

An hour and a half after the end of a chance encounter at the Eric Doyle Memorial Library, under the leafless bough of a twisting tree, old friends who are more like family to one another continue their reunion. The walled garden is a surprisingly mature surrounding for Lance Gerken and Joe Winters to find someone as memorably feral as Colette Demsky. In their youth, she was a wild and untamed young woman, dirt under her nails and engine grease on her hands. The big sister of the Lighthouse, a lifetime ago.

Now Colette sits in a white rattan chair around patio furniture, a mug of hot cocoa in her hands. She has a home, one ostensibly owned by one of her two partners, but nonetheless a gorgeous house so far apart from the girl she used to be. She's still recognizable though; blind eyes that can still see, dark hair cut short and messy. But her dark jeans don't have holes in them these days, and the wool sweater she wears seems almost age appropriate. Rolled up to her elbows, it shows off the tattoos on her arms and one on the back of her hand.

Colette has in some ways settled down. In other ways, ways the boys had only heard rumors of, she's more feral than ever. But right now there's piping hot cocoa to warm the hands. While it's nearly fifty degrees today — a March heat wave — it's overcast and damp. But the near spring feeling in the air is refreshing, and the garden provides a privacy to their talk befitting of adults. Which, to her credit, Colette treats her younger not-siblings as.

Adults with cocoa.

Joe isn't surprised by their surroundings. After seeing other Ferry people and Lighthouse people settled into adult lives he's not surprised to see big sister Colette settled in like she is. If anything it's just further confirmation that most of them have moved on with their lives and actually built… lives. It's something that brings a soft smile to Joe's lips as he sits and sips from his cup of hot cocoa. He warms his hands on it. His eyes are still a little puffy and red from the earlier weeping, but he's past the bouts of tears now and is just sitting, feeling a little bit down, but at the same time a little bit happy.

"So glad we saw you today Colette. We weren't sure who all was going to be there, but we hoped we'd get to see a lot of Ferry and some Lighthouse folks. And we weren't disappointed. A lot of us showed up for the dedication. You look good. You look happy. So fill us in… we heard you're with Wolfhound. How… what did you do during the war? Since then? And are you as happy as you look?" Joe asks, his hands slowly turning his cup in them, inch by inch, and every time it comes around to the same spot he takes a sip, then starts to turn it again, keeping his hands busy.

There’s no age too old to drink cocoa.

Lance has grown a great deal since the days when they lived in a lighthouse, but the lanky teenager is still recognizable to those who knew him - there’s that same gleam to his eye, that same tendency to lean in a little to listen to what’s going on even when he’s not quite part of the conversation. His hair’s better kept these days - painstakingly so - and he dresses his age for the most part, slightly-worn jeans and a grey hoodie at the moment to deal with the weather of the time. There’s a bit of red around his eyes from earlier as well, but there was less overt crying from the young man than there was some others.

“This house is pretty primal,” he compliments as he looks around curiously, cradling both hands around the warm mug, “They must be paying you pretty well, at least! We’re still settling in to the Zone and all… we were gonna stop by anyway, even if we didn’t run into you— Eimi told us where we might be able to find you.”

There's a smirk at the compliment to the house, and Colette hides the rest of her reaction behind the ceramic mug in her hands. She's quiet for a moment, listening to the distant and omnipresent sounds of construction equipment. “This is Tamara’s house on paper, even if the three of us live here. You'd probably not be surprised at how good she is at lotteries and investments.” Blind eyes level on Lance, and Colette can't help but guiltily smile at that.

“I am— happy. I mean, it feels weird admitting it even after all this time. But,” Colette looks around at the garden. “This place, everyone in it, it's more than I ever could've hoped for. Idly, she spins the ring on her finger with her thumb. “I've got an embarrassment of happiness, an’ it feels better’n I could probably explain.” The more she's around Lance and Joe, the more relaxed she gets and the less formal her tone becomes.

Sipping her cocoa, she slouches further into her chair with a creak of the wood. “The war was the war,” sounds dismissive because it is. “I fought, I helped earn what we’ve got now. But it's over, an’… I dunno, I've never been big on reminiscing about it. At least not sober.” Setting down her cocoa, Colette leans forward and raises one brow. “Wolfhound, though…” That, at least, she seems willing to discuss.

“We keep everybody safe. That's the long and short’f it.” Though Colette realizes the long and shirt isn't the satisfying answer. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to hunting down the people that got away when the war ended. The people who hurt us, people like Heller. People like the fuckers from the Institute. Heller hung, but it didn't start or end with him.”

Realizing the topic is stirring up something in her, Colette picks up her cocoa and shakes her head. “I protect people,” she shortens it again. “It's hard, dangerous work. But I've got amazing people watching my back, so I can come home to the people I love.”

Joe bobbles his head up and down a couple times in agreement with Lance's statement. "Totally primal." A verbal confirmation too. Joe has changed growing up, but he's still definitely Joe. Same big beaming smile when he's happy. Still rushing headlong into things that he really should think twice about. And still happy to help people with pretty much anything they may need help with. "We're happy you're happy. It's been… weird. Seeing everyone all settled in. Everyone has made lives for themselves. We remember everyone as these ragtag freedom fighters and protectors and well… people are family people now. It's pretty primal."

Joe smirks and takes a slow sip from his cocoa, letting his attention wander a little bit again. "Sorry. Didn't mean to pry on the war stuff. I mean yeah I did mean to pry, but sorry if it's an uncomfortable subject. Some people are fine talking about it, some people aren't." He goes quiet when she seems ready and willing to talk about Wolfhound. "Did he hang? Good. Bastard." Joe's not really big on swearing. It takes a special kind of anger to get him swearing. And even though it was just the one, there's a lot of venom and emotion in it. He knows how hard Heller hunted the Ferrymen. Joe's friends and family.

"So you get to be a primal military bounty hunter type deal. Hunt people down, and get paid for it. And not just people but bad people. People who deserve it. That's pretty freaking awesome." Joe glances aside to Lance, then back to Colette. "I try to keep up with Wolfhound's doings. In the news, on the internet and what not. I heard Berlin joined up too. So between you and her I always read and hope you guys are safe. You're not bulletproof after all." He smirks a little bit, winking at their older sister before taking a longer drink from his cocoa.

“Sometimes it’s better to not get shot at all rather than be bulletproof, Joe,” Lance observes with a roll of his eyes - as always, trying to remind his friend that he isn’t literally invulnerable. As always, it’ll probably fall on deaf ears. He sips from the cocoa, flashing a grin over to Colette, “Glad to know you’re out there keeping the fight going. We’re…”

He glances to Joe, then shrugs as he looks back, “We’re getting by. Trying to figure out what we’re doing and all, you know? It’s nice having a place of our own, though, we spent like forever living in other peoples’ places.”

The mug’s lifted in a sort of salute, “If you ever need any help in the Zone, though, you know we’re behind you, ‘lette.” A chuckle, “I mean, we’re even picking up other people now. Eimi’s hanging with us, Silv— uh, Lynette’s daughter? We’re practically our own gang.”

Colette quietly tips back her cocoa, one brow subtly raising at the mention of the name Eimi, but she's quiet about it. The wind picks up just a little, plays at her hair, at the steam rising up off her mug. She smirks, eliciting a look over at Joe. “You still talk a lot,” she says with that smirk turning into a genuine smile.

“Berlin’s good. I— actually weren't aware you two knew her. I know she'd been in and out of the Ferry’s network and the Lighthouses but…” Dark brows crease together, and Colette takes another sip. “She's smart, talented, one of the handful of people I count as a close friend. She's actually on my— ” she looks down into her mug, “she's on the same squad I am. Her, Lucille Ryans, Adel and Noa,” who both helped get the boys out of America, “and Huruma.”

Blind eyes lift up again. “We’re called Wendigo. Stealth, infiltration, hit and run. Just like Lance says, sometimes not getting shot at’s better.” Colette laughs softly at the end of that, turning her mug in her hands. She dodges the topic of their gang. “Either of you working? Like, real jobs?” They've gotta be, right?

"Well, maybe for you Lance. Though not even then. Cuz people would be shooting at me when they could be shooting at you, only I'd soak up all the bullets. Main tank." Joe jerks a thumb at himself, then points at Lance. "Stealth DPS. We've had this convo. Like a million times." They probably have. And yes, as usual Lance's warning falls on deaf ears. Joe knows on an intellectual level that he's not invulnerable. But Lance is talking to someone who's probably never felt pain, or at least not in living memory. At least, when he wasn't negated by Brian to teach him to fight without his ability.

"Well Lance has a place of his own. I technically rent out a shoebox from this lady. It's like a closet. Though there's a closet in it. So it's a closet in a closet. It's like closetception. But she doesn't go through my stuff. Which is good. Cuz knives, some guns and other stuff. Brian made sure I was prepped before I came." Joe shrugs his shoulders with a little grin in place. "But I'm at Lance's constantly. We really should get a bigger place Lance. Though I also need to talk to you about that. Talked to Brynn about trying to get a bigger place somehow. Maybe with enough space to help some of the other kids we've been seeing that could really use it…" He flashes his buddy a quick grin, then lifts his mug to take a sip from the cocoa.

"We've made friends, and we're helping people. I want to help more people. And yeah, yeah I do. I know. People tell me I talk too much all the time." He pauses, thinking about that. "Actually no they don't. But I know I do. Because they have this boggled look when I'm done talking like they can't believe all those words just came out of my mouth. And yeah we knew Berlin a little. Not well mind, but we did meet her." Joe's eyes widen a bit at the list of people that she works with, then Huruma is mentioned. "Aunt Stork?!" He looks at Lance with a NO WAY! sort of look on his face, then back to Colette.

"I haven't seen Aunt Stork in forever. I mean I guess we hadn't seen most of you guys in forever. Would really love to see some of them again. Adel and Aunt Stork and and and…" He pauses, sipping from his cocoa, though he's grinning the whole time. "I babysit. And do small jobs here and there that I can. Trying to convince Lance to babysit with me. After taking care of all the other kids we've got da skills. And Wendigo. Stealth and infiltration. Cool. I can do stealth too. I can shut up when I need to. But Lance is definitely the ninja."

At the question about employment, Lance sort of see-saws his hand a bit, nose wrinkling up. “I mean, I do odd jobs here and there— deliveries, courier work mostly, and I mean, yeah, just gimme a call if you need help babysitting, Joe.” If nothing else, they’re used to being around younger - and older - children from the pile of varied-age people they grew up with in the Lighthouse.

Then he grins, “Wendigo, huh? Primal. And Auntie Stork’s pretty awesome, I bet she kicks ass out there. Adel’s with you all? Sweet— tell her we said hi, I haven’t seen her or Noa in like for-ever— I’m surprised Cash isn’t with you all too, all invulnerable stone woman and stuff.” A sip of the cocoa, and he admits, “I’m trying to get into college but— uh, that’s not going so well.” Gaze drops to consider the beverage, and he shrugs, “Still. Gotta keep trying.”

“Does Huruma know you call her that?” Colette side eyes Joe and Lance as she nurses her cocoa. It's a rhetorical question, admittedly. It's Lance she levels on after that. “But seriously, courier work is a great job. I did that for the Ferry before things went completely to shit. You meet lots of people, learn the lay of the land, can…” realizing how she's framing it, Colette swallows noisily and shakes her head. “I mean— it's good. It's a good job.”

Making a quiet sound in the back of her throat, Colette takes another sip of her cocoa. “Babysitting and odds jobs is a waste of your talents.” Blind eyes sweep from Lance to the indescribable young man. “I mean all things aside, you should look at getting a construction job with the contractors working the Safe Zone. You don't have t’worry about getting hurt on the job.”

“On the other hand,” Colette inclines her head to the side, “if you're not looking to work with your hands I can figure something else out. You two shouldn't be living in little shit apartments. I didn't fight for you t’have a sub-par normal life.” There's a crack of a smile at that.

Joe stares at Lance. STARES. Cuz he has been pestering Lance for weeks now to come help him babysit. They could rake in mad money if he did. WEEKS! So he stares at Lance, holding that stare, hopefully long enough to be uncomfortable for Lance. He knows what he's done. There's some grumbling from Joe about people and their wishy washy heads and stuff, but he ends up silencing himself with some more cocoa that he sips from, though his mug is almost gone now and he gives a mournful look down into the ceramic confines of his mug.

"Wendigo… isn't that like the mythical thingy that eats people? Like the native version of big foot or something? Lurks in the woods, noms on unwary people?" He glances between Lance and Colette a couple times, then peers at Lance. "If you'd sit down and let me help you study brosef you could get in. I promise. If /I/ passed? You can totally pass." He reaches out with a fist and nudges Lance in the shoulder, then glances back over to Colette with a wide grin on his face. "I have nooooo clue if she knows. Probably not." He admits with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Can what? Come on now. Not kids. Don't need to protect us. Or is it a touchy emotional bit and not a protecting the children bit?" Joe's brow lifts upwards as he drains the last of his hot cocoa and then just holds the mug in his hands. "We know escape routes. We know how to get out of the safe zone if things go to crap. We have exit plans. Or at least I do. And I have made exit plans for everyone else. I dont' think of it as an if things go to crap honestly. I think of it as a when. I don't think the powder keg is done burning yet. I'm not sure any of us do."

Joe huhs at that statement about getting a construction job. "Well I didn't think of that. I'd thought about maybe like… being a police officer or… something? Something where my power can really be put to use. And we have combat training." Joe says with another shrug of his shoulders. "Brian." Is his explanation for that combat training. "Lance really is a ninja. And Brian said we're both trained at least to the level of an army soldier. Probably better."

Joe tips his head slowly in acknowledgement of Colette's statement. "It's pretty normal around here though. The sub par living. And Lance and Brynn are like dead set on living normal lives. Me? Not so much, but I wanna be there with my family. I'm more interested in serving and protecting. Helping other kids like you guys helped us. That sorta thing."

A couple times, Lance tries to say something, but as usual Joe is still talking so he just sips his cocoa and waits for him to be finished - an affectionate roll of his eyes no doubt noticeable from Colette. “I swear to God you could talk someone to death, bro,” he reaches out to nudge his friend with his fist in mirror of the other teenager’s affectionate gesture, “Jesus. And I will, just— y’know. Gotta keep working on it. And she knows. I called her that when she brought Kasha in that first time, never stopped. The big ol’ towering stork-lady.”

He wrinkles his nose a little, “And yeah maybe it’s a shit apartment but— I mean, it’s ours, Colette. It’s not the Lighthouse, or a safehouse, or Gillian’s guest room or something, it’s ours and we can call it that and we worked for everything in it.” Pride, there, after so many years living under other peoples’ charity. “But— I mean, what’d you have in mind?” He looks at her curiously, leaning forward a little.

Sliding her tongue across the inside of her cheek, Colette slouches to the side and runs one hand through her hair, cradling her cocoa in one hand. “Nothing in mind, just… looking out for you. S’what family does.” She looks into the garden, to a stone near the stairs with Jupiter inscribed on it.

“Mayor’s working at reforming the NYPD. You can get in without a degree, but it limits our career options.” Blind eyes slip over to Joe, then Lance. “I dunno if you two ever even finished High School. I sure as fuck didn't. But if you got your GEDs you could both maybe apply for the academy.”

Colette finishes her cocoa and sets it down on the table. “See,” she makes a difficult to read face. “There's a fight out there,” she says with a vague motion with one hand. “But that's out there. Plenty of people fighting it. The fight in here,” she touches the table, “it's about making this work. About making what Eric gave his life for… something worthwhile.”

She swallows, audibly, and looks down into her lap. “He would've wanted you both to have normal lives. With— you know a special somebody.” Colette looks up, smile more emotional now. “I just don't want you two t’turn out like…” she swirls her hand around, brows furrowed. “I just care about you two. About Hailey, who shouldn't be living in the Bronx.”

If you're waiting for Joe to be finished talking you might be waiting a rather long time. Cuz Joe almost never stops talking. He stopped talking earlier, at the dedication. But he was pretty busy crying his eyes out. But he bounces back quick. The kids learned to. They had to. Or be miserable forever. "To death? I mean… maybe." Joe pauses giving that serious consideration. "I mean I guess so? If they just sat and listened to me and didn't like eat or sleep." Joe tips his head up and down a few times. Bobble head Joe. "We'll get you in. Just gotta keep working on it. It'll happen though. After everything we've been through college shouldn't be a problem."

"Yeah, what he said." Joe confirms when Lance puts his own feelings into words better than Joe does. Despite Joe using ten times the amount of words. Lance often cuts to the quick of the matter better than he does. He rambles. He's also curious though and leans forwards a little bit, mug clutched in his hands as he peers at their older sister. Cuz she was always the cool older sister to the kids. "We got our GED's. Or we wouldn't be able to apply for college. I dunno if the police force is the right place or not. I mean I'd rather take a bullet than some poor officer with a family. But I'm also not sure I'd be the best at operating within the confines of the law." His eyes dart right, then left, a cheeky little smile pulling at the corner of his mouth.

"We know. We care about you too. And now that we know where you live I'm sure we'll be dropping in to pester you some. Probably more than some. You were always the cool older sister. Like the rebellious one who didn't give a rat's behind about what the parents think. But were still responsible and took care of your younger siblings. And I don't know what Eric would want. I mean I knew him but it's not like he talked about his hopes and dreams with us. I don't know if he'd want us to have normal lives, or take after his example and help people we have the power to help you know?" He chokes up a little bit at the talk of Doyle. "And trust us. We have been trying everything we can think of to get Hailey in the safe zone. We're about ready to abduct her and force her to come live in the safe zone. Not out in the wild like an animal. Broninja and I are both in full agreement on this. Also turn out like who? Huh? Like whoooooo?"

“What, me - us - cops?” Lance blinks a few times at the concept of it, his head tilting a little to one side as if he’d never really considered that career option. Then again, he didn’t really grow up around police. Just militarized thugs and federal agents. He takes another sip of cocoa, lowering the mug warmed in his hands and wrinkling his nose, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, Joe. What— what Colette just said, about making it work. Our lives, you know? This whole thing was so we didn’t have to be getting shot at and shit…”

He trails off for a moment, then looks back up to Colette with frustration in his eyes, “I know. I know, and I keep trying to tell her that, but she won’t come into the Zone without her animals. Maybe— I mean, I know some smugglers, maybe they could bring them in?” Probably shouldn’t admit to that, Lance. But then, this is family.

“Gillian and I have a plan for the animals,” Colette admits as she folds her hands in her lap. “Eventually. But— it's gonna take time. I know she won't move without them.” The question of who Colette doesn't want them to turn out like doesn't get answered at all. She just ignores it, sweeping across other topics.

But it takes her a minute to settle on one. “The way I see it, the laws we have now are only a good as our trust in them,” which might be harder for them to believe if she wasn't keeping things from them. But in her eyes, all the better. “If… we start thinking like we had to in order to survive back then? We’re gonna destroy everything. It's— hard. It's hard not to suspect the worst of everyone in power.”

Looking to the house, Colette’s shoulders sink a little. “We’ve all gotta start finding ways t’build, after years of breaking shit.” Blind eyes focus back on Joe and Lance. “I missed you jerks.”

Joe noddles his head again to Lance's question about cops. "Yeah. Cops. It's something I've given some thought to. Wasn't going to broach the subject yet but now seemed a good time since we're talking about gainful employment and our futures and what not. I had thought about it. I mean to be honest I had thought about seeing if I was cut out for Wolfhound. I'm sure my ability would come in handy. But I don't think it's the right fit. Not that it'd be a bad fit. But it's not the right fit. Yah know?"

Joe's shoulders lift in a slow sort of shrug. Then he leans back a little, feet lifting and kicking slowly in the air. "This whole thing was to keep us alive and not let us be slain and murdered by the government. And being a police officer and stuff is normal people stuff. I mean obviously not office worker stuff but really? Could you spend your life in a cubicle working for a bank or an insurance agency broninja?" Joe's raised brow and skeptical tone tell plainly what his opinion on that question is.

"Well that's good to know. Cuz I've been wracking my brain trying to think of ways to get the stupid animals into the city. Info sharing is good." Aaaand he sticks his tongue out at Colette before grinning wide. His eyes narrow when she doesn't answer his question. Joe scoots forwards on his seat, then drops down to the ground, then scoots closer to Colette, and closer, and then a little bit closer, until he's sitting at her feet.

"Coleeeeette. Whoooo don't you want us to end up like?" He arches a brow at her, he wants to know. And he can be quite insistent. "We missed your face too Colette." And he'll pop up from sitting to his knees and then to his feet so he can lean in and wrap her in a surprise attack hug. "But you know… you don't gotta keep stuff from us anymore. I know we're only 18, but you know very well we're not… kids. Not after everything we've all been through. You were our age back then. We are as old now as you were when all this crap started. Maybe a years difference at most."

Oh, they have a plan? That means that Lance doesn’t need to go into debt to horrible drug smugglers, probably! There’s a wash of relief across his face as Colette says that, and he nods a little. “Good. I worry about her— a lot, I mean,” he grimaces, “She’s my sister and I can’t protect her out there.”

He bobs his head a little in thoughtfulness about the whole police idea. It seems weird, but… well, he’s not dismissing it out of hand, it seems. Then he’s flashing over a grin as Joe all but tackle-hugs her, “We missed the hell out’ve you too. Even if you are just as bossy as you always were.”

Very slowly, Colette presses a hand against Joe’s face and gingerly nudges him back out of the over-enthusiastic hug. “You kids,” she emphasizes with a finger to the middle of Joe’s chest and a look at Lance, “need some goddamn hobbies it sounds like.” For all that she won't treat them like children, she will still jab them about it from time to time.

One dark brow rises to Lance, and Colette’s expression shifts into a smile. “I'm not bossy, by the way, I'm in charge.” Here, at least. That, too, is her opportunity to dodge Joe’s continued questioning.

“Since I know you're here, it'll give me an opportunity to drop in on you both sometime.” Sliding up from her chair, Colette stands and hooks an arm around Joe’s shoulders and drags him a step or two with her. “But I promised Tasha we’d spend the rest of the day together, so… I'm gonna hold t’tjat promise. Not that I don't appreciate you guys, but you can't quite compete.”

Holding out a hand to Lance, Colette makes a get over here gesture. “C’mere. I'm still a hugger.”

Joe holds that hug for a few extra moments before letting himself be pushed back. He tips over and just drops down to his rear end on the ground with a hard thump. Not that it hurts him at all. "Not kids and you know it." Joe comments back with a slight smirk on his lips. "Older, more mature and more experienced than you were when you started. And better trained. See we wouldn't be flying by the seat of our pants. I know you guys had no other option, you weren't ready for everything that came but we're better prepared thanks to all of you guys."

Joe shrugs his shoulders at the mention of hobbies. "Hobbies are a luxury. And not really one we've ever had a ton of time for. Or money and resources for either. And still really don't." Joe's eyes narrow when Colette dodges his question again. "You know, the dodging of my question isn't subtle miss Boss. It's rather pointed. And obvious. Just sayin." He rocks backwards until he's about to tip over onto his back, then rocks forwards again, pulling his legs in to cross them and settle his hands on his knees.

He hops up though when there's a request for a hug. "Push people out of perfectly good hugs then ask for another one. I swear. People need to make up their minds. Either they want a hug or they dont' wanna hug." He will so totally give her a hug though. Cuz that would be rude, refusing a perfectly good hug.

“I do tai chi,” is Lance’s contribution to the idea of hobbies, even as he pushes himself up from his chair with a chuckle. The nearly-empty mug is set down, and he steps along over with an arm offered to join in with the hug, “And yeah, yeah. We never could compete with Tash. I mean, I’d suggest we tag along but you’re probably just gonna make out and then we’d be offering commentary and suggestions, and you’d laser us.”

He grins, “It was good seeing you, though. Don’t be a stranger, ‘kay?”

Dark brows twitch, and Colette slides Joe a sidelong look and purses her lips in thought. Then, eyes closed, she draws in a slow breath through her nose and exhales it just as slowly. The hug around Lance gets tighter, becomes something more like a headlock.

Colette’s expression shifts from a smile to a very patient grimace as she hauls Joe and Lance toward the stairs to the back door.

See you both again so soon let me show you out.

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