Not There Yet


koshka_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Not There Yet
Synopsis Sable and Koshka share thoughts, tales, a hug and a plan.
Date December 29, 2010

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

It's a wintery wonderland outside, but inside it's snug and comfortable. The fire is well banked in the hearth, lending an orange glow and keeping the interior well braced against the draft that comes in through the opened front door.

The air exiting the structure holds a shimmering quality, a wavering of cold mixing with hot and giving the illusion of looking through water. Daylight also streams in through that opened door. Unbroken and bright as it's reflected off the snow and into the only slightly darker depths of the cottage. The light coming in is broken suddenly, by the silouhette of one of the Garden's inhabitants.

Koshka, arms loaded with several split logs stands in the doorway. She's clad as usual in a hoodie and jeans, shoes caked with snow from the short walk. She pauses only long enough to stamp her feet clean, infuriatingly dutiful as ever, before she steps inside and kicks the door closed behind her.

Weather frightful. Fire delightful. Simple enough, the former assisting with the latter, while also demanding it. Keeping things at a livable, dare we say comfortable temperature, has been point one. Let the goons of the Institute come knocking, it won't matter if they find a bunch of Evocicles.

Sable, who has been poking and starting into the fire with an eye-drying intensity that doesn't seem strictly helpful but makes her look busy, is up on her feet the moment Koshka enters through the door. Darting over, small and darkheaded, the yellow eyed woman is at Koshka's side in an instant. "Lookit those, those're nice," she says, nodding approval, "lemme give you a hand with those, sweetie." Arms extend, offering to lighten Koshka's load. "Dang girl, but you're a worker. You gonna make some man real happy someday. Or some gal," a brow arches, "not that it's my business 'r nothin', but y'all figured out yet which side yer playin' f'r? 's arright if no. Took me 'til older than you t' suss it out m'self."

Easily giving over a couple of logs, Koshka kicks off her shoes before ambling toward the hearth. No need to track wet in as well as the cold. Her brows raise at Sable's comments and seem daring to touch her hairline at the question alone. Not quite a direction she was expecting anything to go down; not even one the teenager had thought of, other more important things such as school and survival taking the foreground while other such luxuries getting back-burnered.

"No," the girl answers as she lowers her parcels to the floor beside the fireplace. She turns and directs a questioning look at Sable. "My …dad.. kinda had this weird thing with relationships and protecting me and.. I dunno. He's nuts. Never was really interested either way. —Why?" Her own question comes hesitantly curious rather than defensive.

Sable's smile is crooked as a Kansas scarecrow during tornado season. "Simple curiosity, sweetie," she says, sounding endlessly amused as she sidles after Koshka, dropping her burden onto the pile, "nothin' much more th'n that. 'course, I think it a duty t' remind youngfolks like yerself that there is a way 'sides th' way most go. Not that it's nothin' like a choice, but you gotta know th' path t' walk it."

The yellow eyed woman sets her hands to the small of her back and pushes, cracking her lower spine. "Don't figure it takes much guessin' t' figure how it is I came down, eh?" She rolls her shoulders, like the short trip from door to fireside were somehow a long trail, "y'll find it's lousy 'round here with dykes, matter of fact. I dunno that there's been more th'n one 'r two straight chicks that've been through that door since we opened up shop. This fuckin' city," she clicks her tongue.

"So if y' figure out it's ladies y' lean t'wards, yer gonna be in good company," Sable says, with a pointy-canined smile, "but no rush t' figure it. Love jus' makes shit more complicated. Worth it, or so I gotta tell m'self, but it's one hell 'f a headache."

Koshka stares at Sable as though.. well, as though the yellow-eyed woman had totally lost her mind. Where, or why did this all come about? She stands and brushes her hands off on her pants, taking it for an excuse to look elsewhere.

"That's… I'm just not there yet, I guess." The adolescent drops onto one end of the sofa, watching the embers burn with a sort of unreadable yet likely baffled expression. "Too many things're complicated right now. Not sure I really want to add to it yet."

"Not somethin' y'll have much choice in, when th' time comes," Sable says, dropping into a crouch by the fire, rocking slowly back and forth on her feet, heel to ball, ball to heel, "'t least not th' way I recall. Gatherin' storm, then a bolt of lightnin'." Where all this comes from, yeah, Koshka is right to wonder. Apropos nada is almost generous.

"'course y' may be wise t' hold off worryin' 'bout it for now," Sable agrees, "but don't get to busy stayin' alive that y' f'rget t's live, dig? Don't let yer dad's way 'f thinkin' cut y' off. How's it he went 'bout things? What's he like?"

Blue eyes scoot back to Sable, brows knitting and furrowing in what could only be defined as comical WTF. Where is all this coming from, and why? Koshka watches the woman, wondering quite openly if without words.

Then, the gears are switched and the teenager has to be caught staring again. "What? He's… Russian. And strict. And he…" But rather than going further down that line, Koshka shakes her head and resumes her silence. Not something she really cares to talk about right now.

The wondering, tacit, is answered in no words, and sadly, though Sable is hardly guarded in her emotions and notions, that answer remains mostly unreadable. Something is on her mind, clearly, something that has made Koshka into a sounding board. There's no visible intent towards Koshka, which, thank God, Sable has a reputation, but that is not the reputation she needs.

What other reputation Sable has, though, is as nosy and insistent. And with little regard for family matters, having so little respect for family in general. "Sounds like a son of a bitch," she says, oh-so-delicately, "but figure he helped y' dash, so he cares. Cares too much, mebbe? Said he kept you caged?"

First knees are pulled to her chest, heels hooking onto the front of the sofa, then chin comes to rest just upon it. Recent years, especially this year, Koshka's own view of families and family relationships has changed. But it still isn't something she so easily likes to talk about. It takes a while for answers to come forth, the youth chewing over her lower lip and eyes frowning slightly at the hearth. But finally, she does speak.

"Sorta. Cared too much or not enough about the right things. He means well, but still kind've sees me like a little kid." Koshka lets out a breath and glances up at Sable. "Why? What're you wanting to know?"

Sable eases up to her feet and saunters over to the couch, hopping up to perch on the arm, a little closer to Koshka, voice not needing to be raised over the crackle of the fire quite as much. The yellow eyed woman legs one leg dangle, the other crossing over her knee. "Mebbe 'cause I never had no dad or mom," she suggests, with a slight shrug, "mebbe I'm jus' a nosy fuckin' bitch. Mebbe I think I might feel some fondness t'wards y', Kosh, 'n' I'd like t' know y'all better."

So much for trying to pick and choose which questions she answers. Koshka leans back, feet falling to the floor and hands clasped together. "Not really my dad. He adopted me when I was about eight. He's really my mom's cousin and… well she had this boyfriend when I was little. Things weren't… always so good." Things were terrible, more often than not.

Picking at a piece of imagined lint from her knee, Koshka goes quiet again. Not for too long this time, though. "Elijah was going to move and I asked to go with. So… he adopted me.. It wasn't so bad for a while, but then… Then I got older and the world started changing. We argued a lot about things. When I showed I had a power he told me to run." And she did, ending up in the heart of trouble.

The many ways in which a mother's boyfriend can be 'not always so good' leave a great deal open to dark imagining, and Sable is not so callous nor intrusive as to ask those regions to be illuminated. Not here and now, not to someone Koshka knows so little of, and for so short a time. A somber expression and a singular nod of recognition are what Sable has to offer. She lets that line of discussion end there, for now and indefinitely.

"Whatall didja argue 'bout?" Sable asks, head tilting very slightly, "how'd th' world change? Y' jus' mean with, like, Evo's 'n' all or…?"

Though it takes a moment for Koshka to press on, she is internally thankful that the life before coming to be Elijah's child isn't further pressed. "We argued… about whether or not I should help with the clean up after the explosion," she begins. Only eleven at the time, Elijah was completely against her getting wrapped up in that mess. "About how the Evos were treated, are treated."

The girl frowns, head shaking slowly. "About Registration. A lot about that. About how I should, how it's my duty." The scorn in her tone voices nothing but disagreement for the program. She never liked the idea, even when it was first proposed, and has railed against it even when it became mandatory.

How her world changed is a little more difficult to explain. Koshka's answers don't come as readily as she'd never thought to put words to her perceptions. "Just… like with the Evolved coming out. And… I don't know. Just how I saw things. Like when Midtown blew up I knew I had to go help somehow.. And. I started seeing things different. Not like literally but thinking how things aren't as simple as they seem." That there's layers and hidden truths and lies and all things between. The teen looks up at Sable, wondering if she's even making sense.

Now, looking to Sable for confirmation of sense is maybe not the soundest course of action. This is a girl who is convinced the universe has a grand purpose, and that she is central to it. Sub-psychotic paranoia, borderline schizotypal tendencies, delusions of grandeur… she's a crazy bird, and prone to agreeing with craziness.

Especially when delivered by people she sees herself in. "World as they wants us t' see it ain't how it is. All sorts of things, things we think 'f as, like natural or right or jus' unchangin'… like how people gotta hate, or how we need an army 'cause th' guy next door can't be trusted… none 'f that's th' truth," Sable says, her vehemence one of agreement like, yeah, totally, they're talking about the same thing, right?

"Mebbe better y' ran, Kosh-sweetie," Sable says, bobbing her head in sage certainty, "gotta spread yer wings. When y' know like y' seem t' say y' knew, that feelin' like y' have t' do somethin'… that's truth, beyond science 'n' parchment-dry reason. Th' truth 'f a heart, th' only truth worth a damn."

So much more eloquently does Sable put Koshka's thoughts into words. The teenager nods, though her gaze has again retreated to something imaginary. Darn that lint. "It's all propoganda and… I wonder why more people don't get it, why they just buy into stuff." Just because a thing looks good on paper or in a dream, doesn't mean it works in the real world, no matter how much you will it to.

"I sort've… ran away again," Koshka continues. Once again she hugs her knees in to her chest. "Not from here but… kind've had a falling out with my dad. Not sure I can go back, not sure I even want to. Just… that life's gone.."

"'cause buyin' is all most folks ever learn t' do," Sable states, with a snort, "bourgie-type values. Way they're made. Way this world makes 'em," she smiles, just a little, "aw, but I never could 'xplain it 's good as C.C." Sable turns on her perch, facing right at Koshka, tipping forward, head tilting further, birdishly, as Koshka admits her second retreat, bridges burned.

"Give it time, Kosh-sweetie," Sable says, softly, "time 'way's time well spent sometimes. Time 'mongst fellows. Time t' clear yer head 'n' sharpen yer eyes. Still…" her brows pitch upwards, "that sucks, honey. 'n'…" a pause, "I've got it in mind t' offer y'all a hug, right 'bout now. If, like, y'all are okay with that."

"He just wanted to spend Christmas together," Koshka says quietly. She's trying to steer away from sulking, to avoid crying to anyone who'd listen. She'd spent most of a day avoiding contact until Samara caught her and made her talk. "But…" And rather than go into detail, she shrugs and looks up at Sable. "—He doesn't want me to go back. It's… He shut me out."

The youth hesitates briefly, more afraid of having let a little peek into the life she'd bottled up and hidden than anything else. But just seconds pass before it's Koshka who's initiating the hug. A little cautious and more like you'd give a distant cousin, but she tries.

Sable slips down to the level of the couch's actual seat as soon as she determines Koshka's intent. It's not a hard call - Sable sees it coming a mile away, because that's how she is. Still, she lets Koshka close her arms first, before the older girl snakes around the younger. She's a little less guarded about it, the firmness of the embrace meant as an offer of support, a hold to be relied upon. There's no dudishly distancing back pat, nor over-familiar smooch to her hair. It's a happy medium, best she can manage.

"Folks say what folks say," Sable says, voice softened to near-murmur, "'n' say things unkind when feelin' unkind. Don't too take it too close t' heart, hon. 'n' know this door 's always open, 's long as y' need it." A promise she's begun to make, now she feels she has a place to welcome others into.

Might be the offer, spoken or not, or could just be Sable's demeanor, but Koshka's timidity lessens a little. You might even say the tough to crack little kid relaxes a fraction. She let someone in, and she's not dead for it.

After that exchange, Koshka sits back and takes an intense interest in a hangnail. "Thanks Sable," she says quietly. "—I didn't mean to get wishy-washy. Just… stuff." The last word said with a sigh and a shrug.

That's cool. Hangnails are sometimes totally fascinating in certain situations. Sable can get behind this. She eases back, immediately returning Koshka's personal space, so bravely offered up, however briefly. "Shit, girl," Sable says with a huff, sliding back onto her couch arm perch, "th' word yer lookin' f'r there is shit. Lemme here y' say it. Don't come out proper 'nless y' call it what it is."

Koshka looks up, that baffled expression returning. "Wh…" Well, Sable hasn't been around when things were less than stellar, so she's missed the more colorful parts of the youth's vocabulary. She grins, however unsure, and shakes her head. "Shit. You keep this up, Sable, and you're gonna completely corrupt me."

Sable lifts her hands, setting up a mimed barrier between them. "Heaven forbid, sweetie," she says, yellow eyes a little wide. One of those hands moves to set against her heart, and the musician tips her chin up. "I swear, Kosh, that f'r all I tarnish, I'll never sully, dig? I won't do you no harm.

“I will, however," Sable adds, hand falling and grin spreading across her lips, "teach y' t' work a little wickedness. See, we got someone new stayin' here, name 'f Tasha. Sweet thing, real pretty, but 'bout as meek 'n' mild in a tussle as you are 'round th' den. My sense is, we gotta strike some sparks from 'er, see if we can't get 'er t' pull a little fight outta herself. 'n' with all this snow 'round 'bouts…" Sable's grin grows toothy, "think it's time we built us an arsenal."”

Koshka shakes her head slightly, even allowing out a small laugh. "I'm joking," she explains, as though it had to be. For all she knows, it needs to be. "You're cool, Sable. Really. I'd probably've run out of here if you weren't around running things." She means it, too, for all her attempts at playing off as cool and self-sufficient.

And if ever there were an easier way inside Koshka's walls, mischief is a good one. A grin spreads at the idea of making an assault of snowballs. "I think you're right. There's enough trails around here, hiding won't be a problem. Then we could ambush her!"

"Gal, I gotta be cool," Sable says, giving a shrug, "I'm a musician. If y' ain't cool, y' ain't much 'f anythin'. Bein' cool's a good lookin' way 'f bein' useless." She dips her head, "y'all keep me on a straight and narrow. Gotta cook, gotta get wood, 'lest we freeze? I feel like some damn use. It's groovy. And I thank y' f'r bein' part 'f it."

"Arright. There are ground rules," and at once it's the war room, the seriousness of snowbusiness, "this is a beautiful, sophisticated type woman we're waging war 'gainst. No ice balls, no shots t' th' face. We play it clean, but we don't let up. So she's gotta fight back."

She was raised to help, and whatever her relationship with her father, Koshka's glad to help. Everyone doing some part so no one has to bear the load alone. "Naw, you all're keeping me here. Only fair to help out."

And as plans are laid out, Koshka leans in a little and makes a vague attempt at seriousness. She gives a nod at the rules, good ones both. Ice is painful and no one wants to play after getting hit in the face. "We could flank her. One up by the house and one near the lane or.. both by the house. Something like that."

Sable rolls her shoulder, sliding to her feet, "Only one thing t' do. Scout th' terrain. Pick th' perfect spot. I gotta walk them dogs anyways. They can be our warhounds, or some such. Ain't that right, ol' hound?" this last is directed to the silvering Jupiter, loping by with the quiet dignity of an older dog. Sable gets a reproachful look, in response to which, Sable gives a low growl. Can't be taking no lip.

"Le's go, Kosh-sweetie," Sable says, chin lifting in a minor usher, "get a lay 'f th' land."

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