One of the Pack


adel_icon.gif avi_icon.gif berlin_icon.gif claire_icon.gif colette_icon.gif curtis_icon.gif dearing_icon.gif devon_icon.gif francois_icon.gif hana_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif logan_icon.gif lucille2_icon.gif noa_icon.gif rue_icon.gif scott_icon.gif

Scene Title One of the Pack
Synopsis Two days after the successful execution of Operation High Road, Wolfhound celebrates their victory.
Date June 19, 2017

The Bunker, Rochester

The skyline of Rochester New York is aglow with city lights in the evening hours. Across the river, the eastern downtown district is thriving in a way the Safe Zone can’t quite match. Neighborhoods and industrial parks spread out on both sides of the river, but at the former BeeBee Energy Plant, now the Wolfhound Bunker, there is a life and rhythm of a different kind.

On the power plant’s rooftop, large-bulbed string lights connect between trellis posts that surround the perimeter of an uncharacteristically verdant rooftop garden. Fresh vegetables grow in raised planters, creeping ivy and tomato plants crawl up wooden lattice. These lights string out away from the garden to communication antennas, forming a lighted perimeter around a brick-laid patio with refurbished wood tables and chairs. Coolers of ice and alcohol are set beside the tables, a barbecue grill smokes away nearby, and Colette Demsky and Noa Gitelman have just finished hooking up a portable mp3 player to a modest sound system hauled up from the lounge.

Sharing a conspiratorial look with Noa, Colette spins the wheel on the old ipod and clicks onto one of the songs preloaded. Letting out an enthusiastic cheer as she picks up her beer, Colette pumps a fist in the air as the synthwave beats of an entirely cringey Duran Duran song begin to spill out over the roof.

Dark in the city night is a wire

Steam in the subway earth is afire

Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo

Slouched down in a chair with a beer in one hand and right leg kicked out straight, Avi Epstein groans loudly when the music starts to play, shaking his head. “You’re fired Lieutenant!” Colette promptly raises a hand, flipping Avi off, even as a significantly larger and neon lit stencil of the same gesture flashes into being over her right shoulder. Avi cracks up in laughter, spitting beer all over himself.

Woman you want me give me a sign

And catch my breathing even closer behind

Do do do do do do do dodo dododo dodo

It’s been just two days since Operation: High Road and with Howard Lemay behind bars, Wolfhound has secured its most successful operation since the end of the war. A celebration was in order, and everyone is present to enjoy it. Both Wolfhound present, and it would seem, Wolfhound future.

In touch with the ground

I'm on the hunt down I'm after you

Standing beside the rooftop garden, James Dearing quietly sips on a beer by himself. As he watches Wolfhound’s celebration, the last few days come crashing into a much sharper focus. Shoulders slack, he tips his bottle up and watches Epstein laughing and drinking with the others, then turns his attention over to Lieutenant Demsky, dismissing her neon middle finger as she hooks an arm around Noa’s shoulder and tries to get the other woman to sing along. Most of Wolfhound are just barely adults, and something about that brings a smile to Dearing’s lips.

Smell like I sound I'm lost in a crowd

And I'm hungry like the wolf

Ambling up to Epstein, Scott Harkness pulls out a chair and settles down, motioning to the cooler. Epstein affords Harkness a nod, and the old former Ferrymen retrieves a bottle from within, shakes the ice off, and twists the cap from the top. “This the adults table?” Harkness asks with a crooked smile as he settles down into his chair. “Least I recognize the music they’re playing, right?” Harkness grins, taking a swig of the beer. “Nothin’ makes a man feel older than feelin’ outta touch.”

Straddle the line in discord and rhyme

I'm on the hunt down I'm after you

Adel!” Colette shouts over the music, waving Officer Lane over. “Come on, come on! I know you know the lyrics!” Colette’s been steadily drinking for about a half hour now, one of the rare instances where she’s fully relaxed and just let herself go. Red-faced and smiling from ear to ear, Colette rephrases it. “That’s an order! Sing with us!”

Mouth is alive with juices like wine

And I’m hungry like the wolf

Party or not, relaxed is not quite the word that describes Hana Gitelman as she stands in the lee of one of the ivy-covered trellises. Reserved is the better term, and that has only a little to do with the fact that she should be sitting. Her concession to the brace on her ankle and the ibuprofen in her system is to keep her weight on the good foot; the left just barely rests on the ground. Her crutches lean against the backside of the trellis, for the moment disregarded.

Having already claimed a beer of her own, Hana looks on as Colette and Noa fire up the sound system, as Epstein and Harkness stake out their table, as Colette eggs her team members into singing — or tries, at the least. Dearing, farther around the garden, is given a thoughtful look as Hana takes another drink; the newest recruit, still something of an unknown, albeit an accepted one. The smile she catches a glimpse of seems a positive sign, at the least.

Hana is relaxed enough to not be paying close attention to the perimeter cameras. Besides, someone else is doing that on her behalf — someone who opts to keep silent in the absence of an actual disruption.

Parties are not Berlin's most comfortable setting, but she's here. Sitting in a corner, curled up in a chair with a beer in hand. She watches the karaoke with a smile, although that might be the warm smile of being a few beers deep and on the tiny side. Her foot taps to the beat, her fingers sporadically drumming against the bottle in her hand. The brightest flipping off ever gets a laugh from the girl, a rare enough sound, but it fades into a bubbling chuckle as she sinks further into her chair. She doesn't seem to mind the idea of fading into the background, not at the moment, but the people around her, the music, the lights, it's all left her feeling a little on the emotional side. The beers are not helping. That might be why she doesn't mind fading into the background.

Since high school parties had been something that Lucille had enjoyed, though there were rarely parties like that going on, mostly drinking to get to sleep from the nightmares of the things in her past. But this party brought a smile to the woman’s lips. She enters as Colette is shouting and she thinks of times back in Colorado. Those drinking nights were long but helpful. The Wendigo team leader was a team booster for sure.

Walking in she passes The Major with a smile and a nod to her quasi mentor/leader of the whole team. Luce claps her dark green velvet gloved hands with a laugh as she passes by Colette and nabs a beer for herself. Snapping the cap off and taking a swig she walks over towards where she sees Berlin and an eye winks as she slides over to the young woman. “Burr,” She says in a low singsong voice. Her eyes bright; the Hunt was an success.”Having fun?”

Rue is shoving napkins at Avi after he spits beer on himself, giggling madly the whole time. “You’re a fuckin’ mess,” she teases. Scott pulls up and she lifts her brow. “Adults table?” She jerks her thumb in Avi’s direction. “Don’t see any of those here.” The redhead picks her beer up and flashes a grin. “They’re playing my song.”

Leaving the grown-ups to their discussion, she bounds over to where Colette is encouraging the sing-along. She hops on the balls of her feet, her ginger hair bouncing around her shoulders. This is one of those times where she opts for bright colors. The hem of her dress stops at about mid-thigh, and flounces in gauzy layers as she dances. The neckline is a deep vee that’s held in place with dress tape. She normally only wears this outfit when she’s trying to be distracting.

And tonight? Is a marvelous distraction for everyone.

Curtis does not walk in, he limps in. There's a brace around his left knee, he's still not sure when he hurt it, his hands are wrapped up in bandages, and there's the definite sight of thick bandages under the loose long sleeve shirt that he's wearing. And he's a mess of bruising all over. But he's alive. He goes immediately in the direction of a cooler in search of a beer. Probably shouldn't with the pain meds but it's a party damnit.

The getting into the cooler takes… way longer than it should, nursing busted ribs and what not, but eventually he comes up with a couple bottles and limps his way over to a table to slump down into a seat with a heavy sigh, watching the others antics brings a smile to the soldier's face at least. Caps are removed, and his first sip is had, another sigh leaving him, this one more relaxed and relieved to see everyone alive and for the most part healthy.

A part of her really was not in a mood for a party, especially after that disaster of events; but almost reluctantly, Claire arrives on the roof. It felt almost like a duty that she goes and participate… or at least just be there. Not like she could fake an excuse like injuries, since she heals so much faster. In fact, her burns are pretty much gone.

Lingering near the escape route, Claire considers if she is going to stay or go. Almost turning around when she sees people she would rather be avoiding now. However, she stays. The regenerator sighs out of her nose, lips pursed… still she finally moves towards the gathering.

There was a time she would have been all over a scene like this, but that felt like a lifetime ago. Now, she’d rather just sit in her room… read or something. Hide away from the world. Though watching everyone acting like goof, does manage to make her smile.

Beer is less of her thing, but it doesn’t stop Huruma from drinking; she found something around to mix up, judging by the red cup in one hand as she seems to materialize from somewhere off at Hana’s peripheral. She is not shy about approaching the otherwise reserved Major, more or less joining her in the shade of trellis to watch the others for the time being. The taller woman has made an effort to at the least not keep to clothes that remind her of the job; she came back when called, but she isn’t going to come to a cookout wearing BDUs. The dress she’s subbed in is a dark plum, sleeveless and knee-length, flattering in a more uniformed way.

“How is the ankle?” Huruma’s inquiry is a subdued one as she falls in place there, pale eyes giving Hana’s stance a once-over, her ability already playing its part in picking up on the Major’s state of mind. The choice of music does not seem to bother her, and for her part, Huruma’s own expression is tranquil.

Oh, Adel knows the lyrics, for sure, but she gives Colette a side eye at first because she’s not a singer. But the second time it is taken as an order, so she starts to sing along. Her voice isn’t very practiced, nor does it have the good sound to it that some of her mothers were capable of, but it’s passing when in a group. She’d done some background singing, after all. When singing along with an established song, it’s much easier.

What she does do is start to dance while she sings, raising her hands over her head and smiling, pleased with each other and the whole team. And especially her newest mom-figure, who’d led their team to victory. Bad guys don’t know what’s coming.

Cause there’s a wolf.

Colette is frenetic energy and excitement. The high of victory is intoxicating and the smooth performance of Wendigo during Operation: High Road has left her feeling more confident than she has in her entire life. One hand in the air, she's joining Adel in off-key singing over the actual music. It isn't really karaoke, but it's close enough for her. She dances just as poorly, in front of other people, but there's no shyness or concern. This is family.

Apart from the dancing, Avi quietly towels off his jeans with the napkins provided by Rue. He looks over to where Curtis slouched down into a seat. “Hey,” Avi knocks the side of his bottle against Curtis’. “Knee brace buddies,” he says with a Cheshire smile. Avi will never bounce back from his injury like Curtis will, but in the moment they can commiserate.

“Heard you got punched out of the air by a statue-man,” Scott offers over to the younger soldier. He cracks a smile, raising his beer in a cheers gesture. “Any crash you can walk away from, right?”

Avi barks out a laugh at that, taking a swig from his beer. “That's the fucking truth. And hey— look at fucking us!” Avi motions his beer to Curtis. “Marines,” then Scott, “Army,” then to himself, “Navy.” His head tips to the side. “One card short of a Royal flush…” has a double entendre for the former CIA spook. He toasts as well, then tips back his beer.

Further away, Dearing remains quiet in his observations. He watches Huruma and Hana, then spots Claire by the stairs. As the chorus of the song hits again, he diverts. “Bennet was it?”

"Luce," Berlin says when she sees her come over, "hiiiiii." She chuckles at the question, but doesn't give a proper answer. Instead, she nods toward the entertainment. "I'm hiding over here until they're too drunk to remember they're doing karaoke." This is an imparted secret, something just between friends, except that Berlin forget to whisper, because she is still a lightweight. Her tolerance will build up eventually. Or else she'll be the world's cheapest drunk.

She reaches over to take Lucille's gloved hand, "Come sit before they see you," she says, trying the whisper this time. It sort of works. "Before they start singing— god, I don't know— Wolfmother or something. Or reciting… Peter and the Wolf. You know what I'm saying?"

Hana returns Lucille's nod as the younger woman walks by, but — unsurprisingly — makes no move to follow. She notes Lucille make her way towards Berlin, Rue ditch Avi for the sing-along, Curtis join the table, Claire stake out a place alone. Her gaze rests on the younger Bennet briefly, before motion at the edge of her view distracts. To Huruma, the major inclines her head.

"It's fine," Hana replies, actually meaning the words. Where 'fine' is understood to come with the corollary for what it is. "It makes very clear when the ibuprofen's wearing off," she comments, taking a drink of her beer. "But I'm told it should heal well." She lifts her bottle slightly in the direction of the more general merriment. "Going to go sing with the girls?"

For her part, Hana is calm, content, even satisfied. Despite some adverse events, it was a good op — a good success — and now the unit's unwinding. She may stand apart from the party, but she's perfectly comfortable there. A thread of curiosity filters in as her gaze follows Dearing's motion, a hint of reflexive watchfulness. Not concern per se, but simply being alert regarding the newest addition to their cohort… and the specific person he's chosen to approach.

Curtis gives a laugh to Avi's statement, knowing the irony of it, but he clanks bottles and enjoys the moment. Avi won't bounce back, but Curtis will. He always has. So far at least. A few near misses. Okay a lot of near misses. He takes a drink after the clank with Avi, wincing as he extends his arm just a bit too far and feels a twinge of pain in his ribs. "He smacked me out of the air like nothing more than an annoying fly. Only a couple times in the past I've felt that outmatched. But walked away. Or well, limped away, with French's help." He tries to keep his laughter to a minimum but it's hard, so he gets a little more pain when he chuckles at Scott's comment.

"We don't have any ex air force? Really?" Curtis is actually just a bit bewildered by that. "Huh." He shrugs, which is a mistake, then takes a sip from his beer. His eyes wander as he takes that sip, flickering to Claire, who has yet to come yell at him. Probably a bad sign. Definitely a bad sign. Then to Huruma who he hasn't actually talked to since… the Adam days. Lucille who he first met in Central Park before she got involved in any of the chaos. "Damn I feel old." He mutters, tilting his head back a bit, and the beer with it to drain the rest of his first bottle and put the empty next to the full.

There is a bit of a rueful smile as Claire watches a lot of the team dancing and singing, she almost misses the approach of Dearing. Though how she missed a man as tall as him… Her situational awareness seems a little off tonight. The man gets a once over, before she turns her attention back to the party, “And you are the new guy, Dearing?” He gets a second glance, a brow tipping up and a thoughtful smile, “On Rue’s team, right?”

She can only watch the girls for a moment longer, before Claire decides not to be rude and gives him her full attention, head tipping back some to look up at him. After a moment, a hand is offered out as a formality, “Nice to finally meet you, rather than in passing on the plane or at a briefing.” Though it is really her fault that happens, ducking out often before people could corner her… easy to do when you are the smallest one in the group.

“I don't think anything is official yet,” Dearing offers quietly. “But your boss hasn't shot me and thrown me off the roof, so I guess I made a good case for joining.” Slanting a look over at Hana, Dearing crosses his arms over his chest as then shifts his weight from one foot to the other before finally taking her hand in his in a brief — and easy — handshake.

“They say you're the unbreakable one,” Dearing notes with a sense of curiosity. “Somebody told me you've been shot more than… a thousand times? Something about Madagascar?” One brow raises and he laughs awkwardly. “The shit you people talk about.”

Huruma's gaze flits up to follow the course of Hana's darker one, noting her attentiveness and the places it stops, if only for a breath. She allows herself some moments of considering Dearing as well. The response is as expected, more or less; ebony features give a small, knowing smile for Hana's self-assessment. She hides a touch of something more amused behind her drink then, looking to where Colette leads the girls in a rousing— whatever it's turning into. A passive study of the other woman collects pieces of her mood for the empath, a snapshot formed in the pauses between words. Hana works hard, and Huruma knows it. It's good to feel something more… comfortable, out of her.

"Mmm, no. I learned my lesson last time…" Huruma clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "Maybe if Colette ever learns how to make a proper playlist." Her strong shoulders give a shrug. What can you do~?

“If we don't hide they’re gonna get us, ah shit. It's not stopping.” Luce perches besides Berlin and takes another long swig of her beer. The feelings are infectious and her face seems to be twisted into a permanent smile. Rue’s flashy self finds Lucille’s eye and she waves a hand, well that's not keeping a low profile. “Rumour~”

Wiggle fingers.

Dearing and Claire pique her interest and she tilts her head, “I wouldn't mind new blood. New man blood.” A snort as she sips more beer.

"And you would scare him away so soon?"

Francois' voice comes from somewhere in Lucille's blindspot, having stepped out briefly to make a call and now returning to— singing, and Lucille calling for man blood. He has, in his hand, a big glass of red wine, because someone knows and understands his preferences, and is dressed neatly and nicely, a deep blue suit, a black shirt, opened collar. His presence here has been a low key one, perhaps even more so than usual, finding social spaces to exist in and talk so much as diving into the fray.

Certainly, he does not give off the impression that he is in any mood to sing. He is only barely in the mood to celebrate, but the victory is an undeniable one, and so it isn't 100% obligation that brings him here — it is at least 30% the promise of wine. He catches Claire's eye, and offers a subtle smile, knowing a little of her manner on an empathetic level.

There is, also, one more arrival, and as out of place in all the merriment as Francois might sometimes feel— well, John Logan does not make a habit on feeling out of place, but he will inevitably look it as the solitary civilian. Rather than arrive immediately, Hana will sense more than respond to an incoming text from a familiar source—

sounds like a fucking delight up there.

One last cigarette before he enters the breach.

Hana is given a glance; a small knowing smile touches her lips. “I’d say that is a very good sign.” Claire agrees, noticing the Major look their way, which has Claire glancing away. Other people’s glances aren’t missed. Uh oh… people are noticing her there, but at least not the ones that might try to make her sing and dance. Luckily, Dearing mentions the rumors and distracts her from any idea of running away.

“I see the rumor mill is hard at work, even here,” Claire chuckles with amusement, eyes rolling skyward, head shaking a little. Hands tuck into jean pockets, shoulders lifting in a shrug, “I can’t say they are completely wrong, but they’re not completely true…” pause, “…anymore.” She seems almost a little uncomfortable talking about it.

Fingers lifts to tuck strands of semi wild hair behind Claire’s ear, not really looking at the man, “But trust me, if you shot me in the head right now, I’d die.” The words are flat, but then followed with a bit of a smile, her tone following it. “So not quite unbreakable, but not quite as fragile as the rest of you.” Was she once unbreakable? Hell yeah, and she missed it. “The shit people talk about, indeed.” She finally echoes in agreement.

“War stories are hard to avoid,” Dearing admits with a roll of his shoulders. “Wolfhound was famous before I'd set foot in your little slice of home. Never thought I'd be given an offer to climb aboard, but your Major seems like she wants to expand things.”

Nursing his beer, Dearing notices Claire doesn't have anything in hand. “Sober, or just bad at parties?” He asks with a crooked smile, taking a swig from his beer. “Or are you incapable of getting drunk? Knew a guy like that. Rough time.”

"Oh my god, Luce," Berlin says, her eyes rolling in a way that makes her look her age. Which is young. Francois' voice draws her attention, though, and she looks over at him. "Save us from her, Allegre," she says to him with a smile that still carries a little too much warmth. Maybe another beer or two and she'll be up there with the others. Or passed out. It could go either way, really. "She's a menace."

Maybe a man-ace. Either way, it's trouble for Dearing, even if he doesn't know it yet.

Of course, Lucille is also calling attention to their little corner, so Berlin sits up to pull Luce's hand back down. "Shhhh, Ryans," she says with a laugh, "we're supposed to be stealth."

Rue hears her name and answers the call with an enthusiastic wave of her free hand over her head. She dances her way across the rooftop to where Lucille and Berlin are hiding, a big grin on her face. “LaFayette!” she greets the squad leader, wrapping an arm around his shoulders in a brief hug. “Look at you, bein’ all fancy with your wine.” She straightens up to her full height, shoulders back, and pouts. “I wish I’d realized. I wanna be fancy, too.”

This is not her first beer.

“Llllladies~” Rumor winks and points finger guns at Lucille and Berlin in turn. “Job well fuckin’ done, I’d say.” Sometimes, she can be her old self. It just takes the heady rush of victory and a good amount of alcohol.

Hana leaves off her contemplation of Dearing and Claire's interaction, taking a drink and then turning a speculative glance to Huruma. "Is there something you'd like to suggest?" she asks — and while the tone the words are delivered in is neutral, conversational with a hint of curiosity, the empath would sense the thread of amusement Hana isn't showing as she looks towards the 'dance floor', and the sound system behind it.

That amusement is soundly dashed but moments later as an unasked-for interruption comes crashing in, albeit only to Hana's awareness. It's replaced by an actinic flash of surprise, which itself gives way to an emotional tangle that approaches exasperated growl. Her head turns just slightly, as one hearing an unexpected sound; then she slants a dark look at the collective of girls on the dance floor. …Demsky or Lancaster? is sent back to the man lingering over his cigarette.

Implicit: she wasn't behind his invitation.

Hana lingers a moment, casting Huruma a prompting glance; she'll wait for the woman's answer, and then she intends to leave.

“Aw I don't wanna scare him off,” she takes another sip of her beer after a slight jump inside. The music is loud that's why she missed him coming up behind her, not the beer. Leaning her head back to look up at her team leader with a grin, “I just wanna tussle with him is all.” There's a snort and Lucille’s long sleeved deep blue dress shimmers in the light, she hated wearing dresses that were more… normal style. It was better for everyone if she was covered up but there is a bit of neck showing.

Snickering at Berlin she notices Rumour heading over and she waves even more with a laugh at Berlin’s trying stop her, she sticks her tongue out and winks up at Rumour. The former models were friends and Lucille was grateful someone from her old life was even around to relate to her. How crazy… two models turned bounty hunter. They are oddities together.

“Ahh stop stop, I heard all about you,” she holds her beer up in the air looking at her comrades surrounding her. “Cheers ladies,” and a glance up at Francois. “And Gentleman, to a job well done.” She wants to say when's our next one but everyone knows she's already eagerly waiting. Once you find what you're good at, you hold it close.

“Don't tell me you're gonna sing, Berlin won't have it.”

“A little of this… a little of that.” Claire seems almost embarrassed to admit this, but, “More like, I’m avoiding getting too close.” She slowly tips her head toward all the singing, “I might get roped in.” There is amusement at the idea, maybe even a little dread.

Her head gives a little wobble, eyes rolling a little, before turning that amusement in Dearing’s direction, “I… may also have a hard time getting drunk,” she also admits.

So clearly, she sees no reason to hurry over for a drink. Almost as an afterthought she adds, “Great at bars… for a little hustling.” She actually grins now, possibly a memory of such a thing, “What guy wouldn’t see an easy target in a little ol’ girl like me,” There is a little fluttering of lashes at that last bit, tone turning on a little fake innocent.

Huruma’s sneak peek into Hana’s head is a gift in itself; the typically stonyfaced woman is, of course, an open book to her. At least emotionally. The amusement that Hana gives off is given the flash of a grin, which lingers at the question.

The next succession of feelings that thread through Hana after that are strange and visually unprompted. Knowing enough about the major’s own gifts gives some insight into the root, but while Hana’s mind snaps around like a hawk, Huruma only keeps one eye on her past the nursing of her cocktail. At least one of the hounds here can tell when to not say something, right?

“I never said that I was any good at playlists. But I have some ideas that do not play on ‘wolf’.” Huruma’s eyes narrow when she smiles this time, voice low and playful. Her field plucks its way across the bunker’s spaces, a casual stroll of spidery touches. She will find out about John when he is near enough, there’s no doubt about that much. Given the situation, however, it’s hard to tell if she seems inclined to say anything.

Probably not. Lucky Hana.

"Wolves," Hana remarks, by way of oblique agreement, "are what we hunt." But she doesn't argue with the children when they get the symbolism confused; it's not worth the headache. She spares a moment to get those ideas from the other woman, casting another glance towards the dance arena before slowly shaking her head. There's resignation behind that gesture, overlaying frustration and the quiet fuming incited by the text she received.

None of that actually has any bearing on Huruma, however. "Next up," Hana says, inclining her head to the empath — before she turns and walks out on her own two feet, disregarding as optional the crutches she should be using. She has an entirely different hassle to address.

Hana's disappeared from the rooftop by the time the current song ends and a totally unexpected addition begins: "Bad Karma" by Ida Maria. Three tracks down the playlist, she's inserted a second disruption to Colette's musical plan: "Fire" by Etta James.

When the music suddenly changes after Hungry Like The Wolf to a song that isn't Werewolves of London Colette jerks a look back at the iPod plugged into the sound system. Her brows furrow, nose wrinkles, and then she realizes whose interference this is.

Across the rooftop, through the dim lighting, inebriation, and music Colette notices the target of mutual mischief-making. Leaning in to press a kiss to the side of Adel’s head in the way one might their baby niece, Colette shoves her beer into Adel’s hand. “Hold my beer,” she notes with a bubble of laughter. “I gotta do something.”

Slipping away from the dance floor, Colette weaves around Rue, hand gingerly at the small of her back to ensure she isn't bumped into. Navigating past Rue, Berlin, Francois, and Lucille, Colette makes an arrow-straight trajectory to the stairwell from the roof, but she's not quick enough to catch Hana.

Instead, Colette whips out her phone and furiously two-thumb types a message as a broad smile starts creeping across her face. It's a private missive, so less embarrassing.

Happy birthday

She clicks send, and then grins like a lunatic when she sees Read: 8:37pm.

Somewhere, Logan's grin is a bright crescent in whatever shadowy alcove he's staked out for himself, cigarette aglow. He makes himself easy to find, anyway, in a suit of ivory linen and shirt of sky blue. He has also brought a tribute, which is a pocket sized bottle of whiskey, which is probably mostly for himself if we're being super honest.

In his hand, his cellphone gives off dim blue light.

demsky of course. partys better down here though

In his personal opinion.

Up where the party is nebulously better or not better, Francois grunts in affected protest at Rue's arm around his neck. "Perhaps then I will leave some for you," he says, of his wine, which he indicates with a wobble in his hand. His tone implies that the perhaps is important. As Lucille gives her cheers, he raises his glass. More directly to Lucille, but delivered to the group, "There may come a time when Wendigo and the rest don't believe the shit we deal with on the clock, but until then— "

"Rumor, tell Luce she's the worst at stealth. Teach her," Berlin says once Rue has made her way over. Of course, Lucille usually has the big guns, so why would she need it?

At the mention of tussling, Berlin groans. "I think I need another beer," she says and she moves like she's going to stand up. She gets part way there before she loses her balance and has to reach out to stay upright. Sorry, Lucille's head, you are keeping Berlin on her feet. It's just for a moment, though, because she manages to get steady. And then she points at the chair. "Careful, that last step's a big one."


She may have forgotten why she got up, because she looks to Lucille, then to Rue. "She's right. I won't have a bit of it." Her attention swings over to Francois and she chuckles. "I already don't believe it. Someone said there was a magma monster. How's anybody supposed to believe that?"

Colette receives a bright smile and a wave as she walks by, her hand on Rue’s back having drawn the ginger’s attention. She only watches after her for a moment before the promise that Francois might share some of his wine brings her back. She giggles and taps the neck of her beer bottle to the side of his wine glass gently when they toast and takes a long drink.

“Nah, girl,” Rue presses her hand to the back of her mouth and shakes her head at Berlin’s request. “I need ‘Cille just the way she is. She’s the distraction so I can be stealthy.” Lucille gets a wink. Two former models now hunting heads instead of turning them.

Well, maybe they can still do both.

The bit about the magma monster has Rue’s gaze darting between those assembled for this conversation. “I mean, I heard that too, but I thought Devon was pulling my leg.” It’s not that she’s disbelieving, exactly…. “That sounds a little incredible, so I think it’s story time!”

Huruma is pleased as punch when Hana plays ball and interrupts Colette's playlist, her amusement showing as she watches the aforementioned woman cross the space and just miss catching Hana up. As Colette is happily tap-tapping away her message, Huruma creeps up alongside to peer down over the curve of her shoulder. Her arm hooks up around the other one, a draping weight over Colette's upper back.

"Tsk. What are you up to now? One day you're going to get snared~." The reprimand is a balance of things, the least of which seems to be the sound of an older adult teasing a younger one. "I made some requests, don't mind me."

“That's funny,you never seem to hear me coming.” Lucille teases and nudges Berlin in the side with a mock glare, she's all feels tonight. Rumor gets a laugh and she winks, “You are so very quiet. But damn girl, if Marlene had seen you in that you would have gotten that campaign!” Speaking of Marlene, one of the modeling agents they both had the pleasure(?) of meeting.

As Francois speaks she grins, “I mean it's pretty unbelievable even for us.” Meaning the magma monster. The momentary touch on her hair makes Lucille jump unexpectedly. Berlin didn't mean it but it still makes her jump, luckily Berlin’s hand didn't slip on her scalp.

“I..” Lucille turns red, this outright display of something like embarrassment is for sure the alcohol. “So sorry, it's-,” she stops herself with a smile. Let’s move on.

“Oh God,” Lucille takes a long pull from her beer before looking over at the people around her. “Once our fearless leader here,” a nod towards Francois, “Dropped the hand. It was on.” The blue eyed woman waves her hand in front of her face, it's definitely the Lucille of old. Not the stone face mirror of her father. “Claire’s firing off grenades, Devon’s doing his gravity thing. This mimic comes out of the wreckage after Devon throws a grenade at the same time that I launch a rocket at that bitch. Epic. Curtis..”

Lucille’s eyes land on the man sitting across the room and her brow furrows. Looking over at Francois before she speaks, “Was being Curtis. Disobeying orders.. being a nut,” she doesn't want to make it seem all bad though, “He tried to take one for the team and ended up as a pinball.”

"I am no fearless leader when you people give me a heart attack every adventure," is all Francois is willing to say of Curtis, here and now, smoothly glossing over mentions of disobedience. To Berlin; "And it was a mimicry Evolved," in the tone of someone who has already spent some time correcting the term magma monster to mimicry Evolved to various others — but in this setting, it is put on, dry humour indicative in the creases at the corners of his eyes as he brings his glass of wine up to sip, but delaying so as to add, "And so only first it was a magma monster, after the car it was in exploded with fire, and then a metal monster after we shot it with bullets, until it achieved its final form as a C4 monster after Devon— well. You can imagine."

There. Accuracy restored.

"Lucille will now provide descriptive hand motions about how she then shot it out of the sky with a rocket," he supplies. Dry humoured though he is, there is now a glimmer of pride as he helps recount some of the story.

"It takes real bravery to look a heart attack in the eye and still charge into battle with these crazy people," Berlin says. That old chestnut.

She pulls her hand away at Lucille's jump, but gently. Not a jerk. And when her friend looks embarrassed, Berlin reaches over to touch a piece of her hair. Her sorry is silent, perhaps in the interest of helping the conversation chug by.

"Mimicry makes a lot more sense," she notes, "So I guess it's not too hard to believe after all. Too bad, I was sort of hoping to see something new. Hear about something new." Which is to say, if Francois had said there was a magma monster, she would have believed it. She goes to take a drink from her beer, but finds it empty. She looks down at it. Sad. But then she looks back up again. "He shouldn't be disobeying orders," she notes, because even drunk, Berlin knows that.

The story only gets more incredible as it’s also made more accurate. “That is bonkers!” Blue eyes light up and settle on Lucille at the last little tidbit, however. “You did what?!” Rue nudges Francois in the arm, gentle and careful not to disrupt his wine. “You guys are awesome!” They’re all awesome, of course.

Then Curtis was being Curtis gets Rue’s attention. “Did he disrespect LaFayette?” Who does that? Francois is, in Rue’s opinion, a fantastic leader. He’s certainly kept her alive more than once, back when she was like a fawn on shaky legs when it came to covert missions years ago, before the war was quite an inevitability.

Rue laughs, well, ruefully, and shakes her head, running her tongue over her teeth. “Well, I guess we all get caught up in the moment once in a while, don’t we?” The last of her own beer is drained, so she holds her hand out for the younger girl’s empty. “You want another one, ‘Lin? I’ll go fetch.”

There is no missing hearing descriptions of the adventures, especially the mention of her name. Oh great…. “You know… “ Claire starts softly, just loud enough Dearing can hear, “I think I might just brave it for a beer.” Suddenly, feeling like she would like to at least try to numb the embarrassment of events. Maybe, someone somewhere has something stronger… Though there might be a small glimmer of pity for Curtis as his antics are discussed, a glance sent his way out of the corner of her eye.

She starts to move towards the cooler, turn back to look at the man and pointing to him, with a tight smile. No need for her to be rude… so Claire asks, “How about you. Need a refill, Dearing?”

Looking at his bottle, Dearing waggles it from side to side with a sloshing sound. One brow raised, he tips the bottle up and swiftly chugs what's left and then takes a few steps over to hand the now empty bottle bottom-first to Claire. “Suppose I do,” he admits with a crooked smile. “Watch out for the piranhas.” He cheerfully describes her squad-mates.

Not far away, Colette’s narrow frame is silhouette by the looming figure of Huruma. Shoulders hunched and caught in the act, she slides a blind-eyed lookup to the far taller woman with a red face and a broad smile. “Hana knows how to snare me,” Colette notes with confidence. Then, quieter as she leans toward Huruma. “Between you and me?” One brow raises. “She appreciates it.” Speculation, but not baseless.

Tucking the phone away in a back pocket, Colette turns around to fully regard Huruma. “There's people I know better than to play matchmaker with,” comes with a knowing smile and a single finger looped in the air in front of Huruma. “That said, you have some primal music choices.” That slang. The future refused to change.

Of course.

Somewhere in the depths of the former power station, Hana pauses, presses a hand to her face as if in response to a headache that doesn't actually exist. She's still there when the birthday message is sent, a message she does not deign to acknowledge with even the briefest of replies. Not that Colette expected any different.

There will be words when she meets up with Logan, of course, sharp and acerbic, spurred by surprise, by the pain that's increasingly chewing through her meds, by the sense of another boundary being chipped away. She'll appropriate Logan's cigarette, but leave him most of the whiskey. And eventually, she'll admit — if only by implication, read between other lines — that from at least one perspective, he's not wrong: the better party is down here.

There will be other words for Colette, tomorrow. Appreciate will certainly not be one of them.

Huruma’s face tilts when Colette looks up at her, and for a passing breath she seems like she might continue on with a reprimand, but the sensation passes too. Instead, she empties her cup and uses the slung arm’s hand to ruffle at the younger woman’s hair.

“Ohhh? Appreciates it? When you see her again, let me know so I can be there when you ask.” There’s a poke to Colette’s cheek, and a curved smile for her as she turns around. Huruma lobs her empty into the recycling bin ten feet to her nine o’clock, arm uncoiled from Colette to rest a hand at her own hip. “I do not know if I ought to feel flattered or offended.” To the music compliment, she gives a more coy smile that lists at her eyes. “Anything to keep your stereo fresh.” A look goes to where the others are gathered over the story of the fight, and then one towards where the stereo was set up; to Colette, Huruma offers a crook of her hand— an invitation?— in silent inquiry.

Curtis knows when he's being talked about. His hearing is pretty dang good. Perfect you might say. He lifts his head from his soft chatter with the other military guys at the table with him to peek across the way in the direction of Lucille. "Not sure I can ever look at a pinball machine the same way." He snorts and takes another swallow from his beer, nursing the second one, mostly just watching. The party thing has never been Curtis scene, even as Ash. Sitting at a table drinking with friends? Sure. Parties? Not so much. But he's here, even if at least one person would probably prefer he wasn't. Claire.

"It was concrete when it bitch slapped me to the ground." He calls out, interjecting just a bit. "Before it went metal. Kinda glad it was concrete when it hit me and not metal." Curtis can take the shots and the ribbing. He was a Marine before everything else. He smiles through it, laughing occasionally, but mostly just sits back and relaxes at the table with Avi and Scott.

“I once watched a guy punch Gabriel fucking Gray through a wall. Happiest day of my life, in retrospect.” Avi didn't actually see that, but he'd heard the story so many times he's confused it with fact. “You tough motherfuckers just bounce back from anything, and us old goats,” he motions with his beer to Scott, “just get more pins in our bones.”

Scott barks out a laugh at that. “Hey, hey.” He raises one hand wit's a cigarette between two fingers. “I'll have you know that I've never broken a single bone in my life, Epstein. I like to pride myself on that.”

Avi gapes. “Fuck you, you haven't.”

“Not even a finger.” Scott admits with a gesture of his pinkie. “I've been shot at, fought the honest-to-god fucking first wave of the Vanguard, got grabbed by DHS, survived a prison bus escape, even crashed a helicopter once.” Scott angles his head to the side. “I'm lucky.”

“You're an asshole and I don't like you anymore.” Avi chidingly says as he scoots his chair all the way around so he's not facing Harkness anymore. “Curtis, tell Scott he's an asshole.”

Scott breaks out into a fit of laughter again, then takes a long swig off of his beer. “Typical Navy brat.”

I can't hear you over how much you suck.” Avi flatly stated in a loud voice with his arms crossed. Though to Avi’s right Colette is coming back their way with one hand in Huruma’s, circling back toward the fore of the party.

Children,” Colette greets with a raise of one brow to Avi’s table, smile crooked. She doesn't linger long enough to acknowledge Avi’s double middle-finger as she's escorted by Huruma.

Skirting around the tales of the mimic…. The empty beer bottle is dropped in the recycling, before Claire hunts down the cooler with the beers. This takes her near the old folks table, which means she can’t help but overhear. The banter between Avi and Scott, actually manage to get a smile from the tiny blonde.

Two beers are successfully obtained and the lid flipped shut. “You know…” Claire straightens from where she was crouched, offering the older men a smile. Curtis is outright ignored for the sake that she wants to keep her temper. “We might bounce back faster then you…” Teeth actually show with her smile, “But you old farts, you all got the better stories…” Turning to head back, she lifts one of the beers in salute. “They get wilder each time I hear them.”

Huruma takes Colette by the hand, laughing as they pass the table of Hounds and Avi gives the younger of the pair an artful insult. Children. Huruma lets a look move over her shoulder in their wake, something of a taunt. Continue bantering.

She tugs Colette along to the space by the stereo, lifting their hands between them with a feral sort of grin.

The song that Huruma first requested is coming to a close, and then comes the song originally at number two. The taller woman is the one that initiates some dancing, perfectly suited to making sure Colette entertains her but also doesn't faceplant.

I saw werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand—

It’s not with ninja skills that Devon finally arrives. He doesn’t have ninja skills. However, he has been accused of ghosting through places. It’s not intentional, just habit. Tonight is no difference, aside from being late to the party. But between the noise and conversation, he doesn’t immediately seek to draw attention to himself.

He’s dressed casually. Mostly casually. Jeans, hoodie, assortment of bruises and abrasions and one arm cradled in a sling. Oh, and a web belt from which cans with brightly colored caps are carried. One of those cans is pulled free, cap removed, as he strides casually toward the festivities.

The only warning his teammates get is a sudden “Hey!” before Devon begins spraying bright yellow silly string over their heads.

"I once got punched through a wall by Gabriel Gray. Actually two walls. And a fireplace. Though the fireplace was his father's doing. I was in full Horizon armor. Probably the only damn reason I'm still actually alive." Curtis ruminates, a soft chuckle leaving him. "That was when he was posing as President Petrelli. Though I'm honestly not really sure that he was actually Sylar. I'd met Sylar previously and he wasn't that… unhinged. This guy was off his fucking rocker. And his father even said that that wasn't his son. But he sure hit like him. Had multiple powers and everything. Tell them about it Cl…" Curtis pauses, then shakes his head, and his features fall some. Wrong Claire. Curtis takes a slow drink from his beer, finishing it off.

"Afraid I can't do that Epstein. I mean I've broken plenty of bones but… survived the destruction of Moab. Survived the bowels of Pinehearst. Had a scar on my face for awhile after that. Huruma was there for that one." He tips his bear in Hooms direction. "Survived a shit ton of battles when I was an undercover terrorist." His testimony is public knowledge, and he's never hidden his past. "Fought Frontline multiple times, survived the fucking mini war in Chinatown, survived killer robots, survived the destruction of Howland Hook. Sylar. Sylar's dad. And then well the war itself. Broken plenty of bones. But still here."

"And that was all after my time in the Marines too. Could share some stories from that too. Some. Not all." Curtis smirks, then ughs vocally before he rolls forwards, lurching himself up and from his chair to amble over and fetch some new beers, grabbing a new one for Avi and Scott, and another for himself. He brings them all back and then sets them down before retaking his seat. "Oh, and now survived being smacked around like an action figure by a lava monster turned concrete monster turned metal monster turned giant fireball." He winks at the two men and then takes a sip of his new beer. "Whatcha got Epstein? Come on with the survival stories. You have to at least put Scott to shame."

“You ever heard the one about how I lost my eye?” Epstein just drinks. He doesn't elaborate.

"Yes, please, Rumor," Berlin says, tipping a bit in her direction, but correcting before it becomes a problem. "They're comparing scar sizes over there," she says dryly. Like she doesn't mean scar. She means the other thing. Boys. "I dunno that I want to handle it this close to sober…arity." Yep, that's the word. She's close. Ish. Not to sobriety, though. She doesn't have survival stories. Not like those, anyway. "You all sound like you're full of it," she says, louder, toward Avi and Curtis and that whole conversation. "Except you, Epstein," she concedes. Because he has the proof right there on his face, "You're lovely." It's a compliment. She probably means for it to make him feel better.

“You got it.” Rue starts to turn to walk away, but hesitates, turning back to look at Lucille with a devilish smile. “Hey, ‘Cille. Bet you twenty bucks I can get Epstein to dance with me.” It’s just assumed that the bet will be taken, because Rue’s bets are always taken. (Everyone loves watching Rue part with her money.)

Rue weaves her way to the recycling to drop off the empties, then bee lines to the cooler, fishing two beers out, and listening to the conversation between men. “Boys, boys. You’re all pretty,” she teases with a grin. Heading back to their little cluster, she tucks one bottle into the crook of her elbow so she can pop the cap off the other and hand it to Berlin before repeating the process for herself. “There we go. Now everyone will be happier, right? Right.”

She gives a look to Berlin, the apology doesn't need to be verbalized and neither does the accepting of such. Lucille grins lightly as they continue on and she shakes her head at Francois, “I will not show then with hand gestures, they ain't ready for all of that. It's dangerous.”

As the other girls call out the men over there Lucille joins them, “My dad says Epstein is a real soldier.” And that she should follow him, okay maybe he didn't say all that but. “As for the rest of you,” She muses, “Rumor is right you're all pretty with your big scars.” A wink given to Rue before she slams back the rest of her beer and calls out to her red headed friend, “Me too and.. do I ever turn down a bet?” No, and that's a problem.

She also doesn't doubt that Avi has no willpower now, that dress is flashy boy.

The second beer is offered out to Dearing with an amused smirk. “Mission accomplished, beers extracted without getting caught.” She glances over her shoulder at the gathering as bets start flying. “You hearing all that over there?” Claire’s head shakes, amused. “If there is any of them you want to dance with, better hurry before Avi gets them all.” She gives Dearing a wink, the thought has her eyes dancing with suppressed laughter.

Why was she here again? She didn’t care, it was getting interesting to watch the others try to get the old man to dance.

With her own beer, she moves to sit on the edge of the roof, feet left to stretch out in front of her. It’s tempting to turn and dangle her legs over the ledge, but she just sits there. Twisting open her own beer and taking a sip.

Taking the beer, Dearing gingerly clinks it against Claire’s and looks over her to the others. “You folks let out like this all the time, or just after blowing up a volcano man?” The question is rhetorical enough that Dearing casually takes a sip of his beer and leans back against the black metal handrail that borders the perimeter of the roof. “Because this certainly is a sight better than the work I did on my own.”

Tipping his bottle back again, Dearing tracks a look over to where people are circled by Avi’s table and harassing the others. “What’s the story with the big guy,” he tips the top of his bottle over to motion in Curtis’ direction. “He’s the only person here who hasn’t at least tried to make eye contact with you.” Invasively, Dearing levels a look at Claire. “Noticed you were doing the same.”

Allright.” Avi pushes his chair out, hand on the table, levering himself up to stand. “This,” he gestures in a circle around himself and then a flick over to Rue, Lucille, and the others in their proximity. “Is about two steps away from To Catch a Predator,” there’s a crooked, easy laugh that comes with that. “I’ve about had my fill of you kids, so I’m gonna’ follow the Major’s example and get my ass to bed. Some of us have mission briefings to file in the morning.” A look is leveled at Colette, who will likely be doing so with a hangover.

“I’m gonna— ” That’s when Avi Epstein’s backs up into Devon and his entire head is swathed in a tangled mess of vibrantly colored silly string intended for Curtis. The foamy string dangles down off of his eyebrows, hooks onto his nose and drapes over one ear. Reaching up to pluck some of it off of his head, Avi slowly turns around and looks down, down, down to Devon. “Son,” he rumbles. “Would you please go string the hell out of those hyenas?” Avi jerks a thumb in Rue, Lucille, and Berlin’s direction.

Scott, pleadingly, mouths don’t leave me with the kids. Avi disregards his plea.

Not far away, Colette’s flush-red face is beaded with sweat. Dancing with a broad smile, she saunters side-long over to Adel and bumps a hip into her, then shuffles around and retrieves her beer she’d entrusted into her care. Carrying it while she continues to dance, Colette is feverishly relieved when the song ends and Howl by Florence and the Machine comes on next. Breathing heavily, she wipes her forearm across her brow to clear the sweat and comes walking over to where Lucille, Rue, and Berlin are gathered.

Hey!” Colette creeps up beside Rue, clapping a hand on her shoulder. “You three Justin st going to sit here the whole time, or are Adel, Huruma, and I going to dance your asses square off of the roof?” There’s a brow raised to Lucille and Berlin, followed by a crooked smile. To her credit, Colette is a sweat-streaked dance machine, bare shoulders as beaded as her brow, tracking rivulets down her tattoos.

Berlin takes the beer with a smile and a thanks for Rue. She doesn't drink right away, because Avi's attempt at a graceful exit end up sort of hilarious and she laughs. It's not exactly hyena-like, but one can be forgiven the comparison.

Then she drinks. And when Colette makes her way back over, she takes a step back. "Look, I stood up, I think that's pretty good." She chuckles and looks to Lucille for back up there. She is decidedly unsweaty. "Take Rue. She wants someone to dance with. I'll watch and, you know, take notes for the next time." Promise. Pinky promise. "Plus, I have this fresh beer."

And other excuses.

Curtis is about to ask Avi about his missing eye. But then there's silly string coating the man's head and Curtis has a rare moment of true levity. There's no burst of laughter, but his eyes do widen, his eyebrows lift and there's a big grin from him, along with some light chuckling. "Ohhhh Devon. You're in so much trouble." Curtis lifts his beer to Epstein and tips it in salute. "Good job taking one for the team Epstein." He tilts the bottle back to take a solid pull from it, then lowers it down, rolling it between his palms slowly, condensation running down his fingers to drip onto the table.

Quick feet keep him from being totally run over by Avi, and for a baited pause Devon waits for the commander’s reaction to the silly string. The anticipation doesn’t quite keep the adolescent grin from pulling at his lips when he’s turned on. A grin that’s only emboldened by Curtis’ reaction. “Yes, sir,” is his reply, eyes following the direction of the thumb.

Devon sets his expended can down on the table and grabs a second from his belt. This time it’s blue and it’s tossed lightly to Curtis. “I might need back up,” he explains. A can of red string is liberated as well, this one staying with the young man as he begins his approach on the group of women. Can up and ready to shoot as soon as he’s near enough.

Colette has definitely went headfirst into dancing, even involving Adel a bit in her heady rush of fun. Huruma is considerably less mosh pit about it all, and where the younger woman has beads on her head and a relief at the cut of the song, Huruma doesn't seem to have wasted the same energy on it. She gives Colette a tousle of hair before she goes to accost Rue, leaving Huruma with Adel and a beat in her frame. It's no club, but who cares?

Florence crooning puts her in a more careless mood, and with Adel still as a dance partner, she might be getting a little bit of a lead around by Huruma. It's a slower song, so a slower dance, but when it boils down to it— it appears Huruma is taking advantage of being unbothered. She can feel them all more than hear them, from Avi's grumbling to Devon's joyous string to the girls' feelings of camaraderie. It feels nice.

“Only the big wins…” Probably other times too, Claire doesn’t always go to them.

There might be a little surprise that Dearing is still talking to her, not that it really shows on Claire face. The beer is swirled a little, considering her words, when her attention is directed to Curtis. She knows a little of his deal, but not a lot. “To be honest, that isn’t my story to tell.” It is not said rudely, just a simple fact. Even what she does know, is not for her to tell. “All I will say, is I have known him a long time… ran in some of the same circles.”

She takes a sip of her beer and sighs a little, Claire can’t keep skirting it. “I’m not avoiding him for that,” not really, though being around him is uncomfortable at times… “I’m avoiding him, because, right now… I’m his superior and it would not do for me to…” she glances at Dearing out of the corner of her eye, “.. lose my temper. His actions almost got me thrown off the dam, ” she explains. She might still be pissed about that. “Thank god for that RayTech armor. The straps hold up good when your dangling over a 100 foot drop.”

Claire should really remember to tell Richard about that.

“I am totally going to go dance,” Rue insists when Colette comes up on her shoulder. “As soon as Avi dances with me!” she shouts in the man’s direction, leaning to try and catch his eye. “C’mon! One dance!” She is trying to win a bet here. “Hold my beer.” The bottle is shoved into — Lucille! Lucille has a free hand and isn’t gonna topple over probably! — Lucille’s hand.

Ducking Colette’s arm and bouncing up with a bright smile that is so rarely seen these days, Rue helps pick silly string out of Avi’s hair. “Oooone dance, and then I’ll leave you alone.” The corners of her mouth turn down into a pout that pairs well with those big blue eyes of hers. “Please? Don’t leave me hangin’,” she says in a quieter voice. Sincere. “The others’ll think I’m pathetic.”

Half turning around, Avi looks at Rue, past her to the others, then back to Rue again. “My knee got eaten by a robotic tiger,” Avi explains as plain as day. “The only dancing I do these days is when I accidentally trust a fart and have to haul ass to the head.” His straight-faced explanation comes with a gently palm-tap to Rue’s right cheek. “Besides, the glass slipper doesn't fit me.”

At that, he raises a brow and knowingly costs Rue $20 which he intends to later extort from the person who gets it from her. That's how this works. As Avi lumps away, Scott makes a noise in the back of his throats and cracks a smile. He watches Devon and Curtis with the string, then leans back in his chair with a beer in one hand and music, and closes his eyes to appreciate the night. If he listens close enough, he can still hear Grace and Megan giving him shit for one thing or another, and it's almost like no time has passed at all.

But across the way, Colette is denied the satisfaction of dragging a drunken Berlin onto the dance floor. Her lips purse to the side, side-eyes the women, and awkwardly jog-dances back into the fray after raising eyebrows at Francois. “Cois!” Colette calls out. “Show me some of that French dancing!” A look back to Huruma, Adel, and then a plot on her heels and she's back in the mix. Where she belongs.

Apart from it all, Dearing continues to watch the hounds play as hard as they work. He's mostly offered quiet nods to Claire as he works on his last beer. Once it's empty, he sets it down on an adjacent and empty table and lets a slow sigh slip out of him. “I hear you,” is a long belated response to the situation with Curtis. “But,” he side-eyes Claire. “You let that eat at you from the inside, it'll kill you faster than any bullet ever could.”

Dearing flashes Claire an enigmatic smile. “I'm calling it. Your Major was kind enough to get me a spare room today. I'm going to take full advantage of it.” There's no advance, no suggestion of a night cap or getting out of here. Just Dearing detaching from a conversation he'd only ever skirted the periphery of.

Curtis looks down at his heavily bandaged self as silly string is passed to him. He looks at it, then up to Devon, then down to himself. "Not sure I can hit them from here Dev." So what's he do? He silly strings Dev. And Avi. And Scott. And pretty much anyone that is nearby, unloading the can until it sputters out. Then he sets it on the table with a small smirk on his lips, then grabs his bottle and covers the mouth with his thumb in case reprisal is imminent from anyone.

"Not sorry." The smirk pulls into a grin, at least for a second or two before relaxing back into a smile. His beer is then lifted to take a slow sip from, a satisfied smile on the soldier's face. He leans back into his seat as well, wincing as it puts pressure on his ribs, so he sits up straighter and scoots back into his seat to ease that pressure. "Damn but that fucker hit hard." He grumbles lightly as he takes small sips from his beer, letting his eyes wander a few moments. "Should probably stop drinking. Should probably also go back downstairs to my bed. Injuries aside… when did I start feeling old?"

Shoving a beer in Lucille’s hands means she's drinking that beer and this is no exception. She chugs the beer and grins as she stands and takes her free hand to drag Berlin up, “Come on if I'm risking it so are you.” And conga lining they are to the middle of the dance floor with Huruma and Adel, she lifts a leg to nudge Colette in that direction. “Come on then Col.”

And then she's moving and given that she's usually hyper aware of her movements and if they are going to result in the end with skin to skin contact, this is more loose, haha Lucille. She swings her hips and throws her hair back, it's remiscinist of the days back in Old Lucy’s, days where she was bartending, on anti depressants. Not going on assignments to hunt down war criminals, or caring about it a finger grazed someone's face.

She idly runs her hands around her neck touching her scar, that nervous tic of hers finding its way even in the most carefree of moments.

“Veeery funny, Av’.” That’s twenty bucks Rue owes Lucille now. Because she sure doesn’t have it on her. That dress doesn’t have space for anything but her own curves. “I’ll get you back. You know that, right?” She tips her head back and watches him walk away, sighing heavily.

Rejection hurts. Especially when she was just trying to have some fun.

Oh, damn it! Glancing over, Rue is just in time to see Lucille finishing off her beer. It was nearly full! This is not her night. The conga line is stepped away from. She’s not in the mood to join in. Or in the mood to get whatever random effect she might get from an accidental brush with Lucille.

Damn, but that fucker hit hard.

Oh. Hello. Rue might salvage this evening yet. Looping around the table and avoiding the silly string mess, the young woman with fiery hair comes to stand in front of Curtis. “Hey, Cur’.” Rue leans forward, and it’s a good thing that dress tape holds well, or… Well.

“Why don’t you tell me again about how you—” Rue’s hand snaps out and across the man’s face with her open palm. “Totally disobeyed orders and nearly got your fucking teammates killed! Why don’t you brag about that some more?!”

Well, this took a turn.

"No, no, Luce," Berlin says as she gets dragged along. "I'm really not a dancer," she notes, a level of desperation in the tone that's only partly joking. And her beer, Luce! What about her beer! She end up among the dancers, but stands there awkwardly. She's a lot better with a gun than with this. There is reason to smile, though, since Lucille looks like she's enjoying herself.

But still, she slinks herself to the edges of the dancing once it seems like no one will notice or care. But this also puts her in a good spot to see Rue slap the shit out of Curtis. "Whoa, Rumor," she says, surprise coloring her words. It is not graceful as she makes her way over to the pair and she pops her face between the two. "We're partying, right? Rumor?" She doesn't touch her, in case she hasn't got her slaps out for the night, but she's in the way. "We can save the slapping for— " When is a good time for slapping? Berlin cannot come up with an answer, so the sentence is dropped there. "Come dance! I need all the help I can get."

Curtis isn’t blind, he can see the blow coming. He’s more than trained enough to see the tension in Rue’s arm as she winds up. He does tip his chin up into the impact, so her hand will probably smart pretty good the next day. Maybe even smart pretty good now. But he takes the blow, and all he does his arch his brow slowly at her.

“Feel better? I hope so. Next one I hit you back. As for my actions? My actions didn’t change anything that would have happened. Lucille was already shooting the guy with the rocket launcher. Everyone else was already firing at him. He was going to turn into concrete, and he was going to turn into metal. We had no clue he was going to do that though. And if Lucille had tried to close within range long enough to try and influence a biology that wasn’t there? She’d be dead. I assumed he was just a fire or lava mimic. I’ve fought with and beside mimics before. They don’t have a human biology until they’ve left their elemental form. Either way the rocket would have hit. The monster would have flipped his shit. He would have slapped Claire off the dam. Everything else would have gone exactly as it did. Except I would be less injured. And Lucille would have been closing in on a foe that would have then been capable of crushing her rather than frying her. Instead the second, arguably the most durable person on the team, ran in and got smacked so hard that he got launched down the dam like a pinball. Had anyone else on Amarok taken that hit? They’d have been dead. Possibly including Claire these days. But they didn’t. I took that hit.”

Curtis remains seated, not rising up, nor does his voice rise in volume either. “If you want to be angry that’s fine. But I will not now, nor will I ever be sorry for not following orders that I think are dangerous and ill informed. Now, you have a few choices here. You can go back to dancing with your friends. You can hit me again which I really do not advise. Or you can go sleep it off.” With his response finished Curtis just lifts his beer and drains the remainder of it.

A salute is given to Dearing’s departure, beer in hand, as Claire watches him leave. It was an odd exchange… maybe she is just use to the guys trying to flirt, but she wouldn’t have taken up any offer anyway. You have to be in a mood for those things… or drunk and she is neither.

Finishing off her beer, Claire sets it down next to the one he left. Time for her to go too, she had been here long enough.

Or she would have if Rue wasn't assaulting her teammate. Claire is on her feet at the slap. What the hell? She might want to do the same thing, but…. Something propels her forward, that anger in her rising up, especially, when Curtis decides to speak up. She wants to scream at him That’s not the point, idiot and many more, much more colorful words.

Instead, Claire turns that smoldering anger towards Rue, as she moves to stand next to Curtis, arms folded. She glares at the woman across from her, chin tipping up ever so slightly in a challenge. “I don’t see how that is your problem, Lancaster. That is a problem for, Amarok to… and has dealt with.” She isn't yelling, her word are calm and measured. She might want to slap him herself, but he is still her teammate.

Claire is still watching, Rue, as she then asks Curtis, “Need help back to your bunk, Autumn?” Using his last name in a detached way, hopefully, keep rumors at bay.

Berlin’s intervention does get Rue to back up. Because her fight is not with ‘Lin. Rue gestures wordlessly at Curtis, looking to Berlin like but did you just hear what he said?

Claire joins the mix and Rue’s jaw sets tightly, her glaring at the empty space just off from Claire’s right shoulder. Because, again, that’s not who her fight is with. Her fingers flex into fists - no, her hand doesn’t hurt - and she just listens while Curtis justifies himself.

“You talk too fuckin’ much,” Rue spits out, turning her glare back on the subject of her anger. “Your squad leader is the leader for a reason.” Which is what it all comes down to, in her mind. It helps that she answers to Hana more often than not, but she would never question an order given to her by one of their leaders. She trusts them.

Rue snorts derisively and shakes her head. “I ain’t fuckin’ scared of you. You wanna dance, Curtis? I’ll dance.”

Somewhere in the interim, Rue lost track of Avi. Somewhere in his departure, somewhere in the silly stringing and pranks that left him draped in ropes of vibrantly colored whatever the hell that stuff is. But the big, calloused hand that grabs her shoulder isn’t playing around.

Lancaster,” Avi growls, hand at her bicep. “Last time I looked you're not a hundred year old Frenchman.” He tugs her back and away from everyone else, leveling a look at Curtis to just keep his mouth shut, no matter how right or wrong he feels he is. It's Avi’s conversation over face.

“Unless you want to wind up remanded to quarters after I tell Hana about this,” Avi points to the stairs. “You'll get to your bunk, sober the fuck up, and we will talk about inappropriate behavior at official functions tomorrow morning. Discreetly.

Avi’s expression is beyond serious. “If the next words out of your mouth aren't yes, sir they'll be the last words you say in this building.” Avi points a finger at Curtis, his seriousness only slightly undermined by the fact that he's decorated with silly string. “That goes for you too.”

But for all that Avi is trying to play police between two squad mates of varying levels of intoxication, he's doing it as quietly as possible. The radio continues to blast music, and where Rue isn't causing an embarrassing scene the party still continues at a better morale.

Those that wound up on the dance floor away from the childish fighting can't hear what they can't hear, o it the pounding beat of music and many more positive emotions awash over the roof than strained negative ones. Perhaps Huruma has something to do with that, perhaps not. But as the music turns, another Huruma choice comes filtering in over the speakers.

Fire, Fire, Fire

Colette sidles up with Adel and Noa, laughing and running her hands through her hair. Arms raise up, shedding notes of light from her skin that twist and turn in the air, fireflies of rainbow iridescence that she'd scintillating ambience over the roof.

I’m on fire

The lights drift away from Colette’s upraised arms, float in fluttering quality between Berlin and Lucille, some wink out when they touch their shoulders. Their shimmering light flits and dances, following the same rhythm of the music and their speed matches the tempo.

Fire, Fire, Fire

The lights drift by Curtis and Scott, the latter of the two who — also bedecked in silly string — rests a reassuring hand on Curtis’ shoulder with a let it go expression. That hand moves to the middle of Curtis’ back, and Scott has broken up plenty of fights between colleagues in the past, both Army and Ferry.

Lord you set me on fire

Flickering iridescent lights settle like snowflakes on the rim of Francois’ wine glass where he sits, watching different personal dramas play out. The music flows through him, resonates off the curve of the glass, vibrates through the stem into his fingers. The lights wink out one by one, sparkling in their final moments.

Your touch is all it takes, baby, to start the fire in me

Apart from the others, Dearing watches the lights scatter into the air and begin raining down on the rooftop. He sees them settle on Claire’s shoulders, flicker away in her hair, then turns his attention to Berlin just past her. Crossing his arms over his chest, Dearing furrows his brows and watches her, silently appraising.

The one who can turn me on like a tv

Colette’s glimmers of rainbow light drift down the sides of the building, falling like snow through the summer air. They reflect multicolored ambience off of the walls and windows. In a downstairs hall, where the lights can be seen through tall windows, Hana and Logan cast long shadows mixed between cigarette smoke and shimmering waves of color.

When you look at me, baby, you know my lips can't speak

More than a block away, the music can barely be heard as anything other than a faint din. The rainbow colored lights raining down from the rooftop twist and sparkle, glimmer and shine, silent fireworks of celebration on a day that should be about the bonds that bring people inexorably together, more than the things that drive them apart.

Like a cube of ice on a red hot stove I melt from your

The colored lights are reflected in the windshield of a 1971 Dodge Charger, battleship gray with faded paint around the rusted wheel wells. Scuffs and scrapes mar the surface, showing both age and considerable use. Behind the steering wheel in the darkened car, the rainbow hued lights mottle a pale, youthful face with splotches of neon color.

Burning heat

Reclining back in his seat, the blonde man behind the wheel narrows his eyes at the lights. One corner of his mouth creeping up into a hesitant smile. “See you soon Mr. Epstein,” he confidently whispers to himself, hands folded behind his head. He would want to be there for the morning, to make sure the pattern he's observed holds.

I’m on fire

Agent Michael Lowell has a date with Avi Epstein after the celebrations have ended and the harsh light of day has come. One he intends on holding to.

Fire, Fire

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