People Do Shitty Things


emily_icon.gif finch_icon.gif

Scene Title People Do Shitty Things
Synopsis Finch has a powerful reply to Emily's cynicism.
Date December 1, 2019

Brooklyn College

With the end of the semester rapidly approaching, Emily found herself spending more and more time in cafes and in the campus library than ever before. Too many papers to write. Too many projects to finish up. The busywork of it all was frustratingly tedious, along with a streak of determination to do well on these final exams that saw her studying way more than could be useful.

She's not been exceedingly social. But when Finch asked if Emily would like to hang out, neither did she want to say 'no', in the strictest of senses. So, she'd made clear she'd be busy, but wouldn't mind some company. Having someone to leave campus with would be nice, ever since …

Her brow knits together abruptly, hand finding the pale bandage on the side of her neck to itch at it while she looks down over her notes. Her laptop sits on the study table in the Library Cafe as well, but she finds things stick better when she scribes them out by hand. She lets out a long sigh as she starts to pay attention to her surroundings for the first time in a while, looking up across the table.

She loses track of everything, mind making a full stop. "Finch," Emily asks quietly, trying not to arouse any undue attention. "… What are you doing?"

Finch, halfway under the table on the opposite side pulls back like a slinky and plops back into her seat, eyes wide and curious and fixed on Emily from above a too-big yellow puffer jacket that she hasn't taken off yet. What, me?

"I dropped my—" she starts a sentence, then lowers her volume to match her environment a little better, "I dropped my bag. Can you get my pencil? It's right there, in front of your left foot. Also the, um." She plants a hand onto the table and ducks her head under again, to check. "Laser pointer, bubblewrap ball and rubber ducky with the traffic cone hat?"

In front of her is something that might possibly be mistaken for lesson notes, but though her penmanship is excellent, Finch's lack of attending classes probably dictates that the several pages she's written in her brightly sticker-clad notebook are for some other purpose.

Emily frowns. She cannot help it, despite trying to reserve judgment. "Your—?" Her what? She pushes back from the table to crane her head down and look. All of those odd things really are there, though, and she shakes her head at herself, foot scraping the ground to push her back even further so she can crouch down.

There goes the requested ball, though. Kicked away on accident.

Emily swipes the back, funneling requested item one, item two … wait, where's the third. Folded in on her legs, her head droops between her knees with a long-suffering sigh. "Shit," she grouses, unmoving from that awkward position.

"It's okay!" Finch whispers in what she hopes is the loudest-still-acceptable-volume of whispering, pushing herself back under the table to land on her hands and knees. She grabs at the escaping ball with a vigor that suggests she might expect it to bounce away again if she doesn't snatch it up right there and then, and then looks at Emily with a slowly growing smile.

She doesn't wait to resurface, instead saying in the relative shade of the tables, "Thank you." It's almost 'I'm sorry', but only in tone, her face unchangingly peppy, still. "For helping. And for hanging out."

"It's fine," Emily says as she sits back up, careful not to bump her head on the table in the process. "It's fine." She looks over her notes, eyes burning from how long she's been staring at them and lets out a thin sigh from her nose that doesn't deflate her posture at all. Only then does she realize she's not given a remotely appropriate sort of answer, and in a blink, she glances back up to Finch (or more appropriately, Finch's chair).

"What's all that stuff for anyway?" she asks, the edge of her voice softening. It's an odd bunch of stuff, to be sure, but it's not an offensive collection of things. They almost might be expected items, given Finch's scavenging tendencies. With a wrinkle of her nose, Emily teases, "Are you sure we shouldn't call you Magpie?"

Finch's chair moves a little before - after a rustle of puffy jacket - is occupied once more, with a Finch holding two handfuls of items up against her chest. "You can, if you want to, but Finch is actually my last name," she offers, with somewhat subdued enthusiasm. "My parents called me 'Eloise', but I was named after my mother, so." Her lips press into a thin line and she lets her head drop to one side in a small shrug.

"I'm writing them a letter, actually. Maybe I'll try and send them the duck, I think it's cute. The other things…" She awkwardly lets her possessions drop into her lap, pulling her open backpack halfway up onto a knee. "I don't know. They seemed fun. It's not really for anything yet. Does it have to be?" She searches Emily's face.

"I mean…" Emily starts, regretting her tone immediately. She pauses before completing the thought, trying to rein in how judgmental she sounds.

It takes a moment of introspection, and when she starts speaking again, she sounds like she's cutting herself off. "—If you send them the duck, hopefully they'll think you're doing well. It's a pretty frivolous, but well-meaning thing to include with a letter. Right?" She hopes, anyway. Emily glances back over at Finch with a brief flash of a smile to try and convey she didn't mean what she said poorly.

"You know," she adds, sounding much more conversational now instead of scrabbling to not sound downright bitchy. "If you wanted to pick your own nickname and roll with it, you could definitely do that, too. Plenty of people do that." She smooths a hand across the page of her notes. "But I think Finch suits you."

There's no argument from Finch on either point. "I think so too," She replies resolutely and gladly, with a nod to punctuate, before putting her things back in her bag. Suddenly, she seems to realise she's still got her coat on, and starts to unzip it in such a rush that the sound of it sends her eyebrows and shoulders upward. Whoop.

As if her mouth keeps running while the rest of her peels the jacket off and reveals a blue 'I ♥ NYC' sweatshirt underneath, Finch asks softly, "How did you hurt yourself?"

Emily's penhand slows in its scrawl, the act tapering off entirely when she looks up Finch. The deep place she was starting to drift off to is forgotten entirely at seeing what the other girl is wearing, causing her to instead resist a snort of amusement. God, this girl.

Brow ticking together for just a moment, Emily lets out a long breath with just a tinge of vocalizations behind it. She considers laying the pen down, letting it roll against the curve of her grip, but ultimately holds onto it. The result of the various mental debates she has in that brief span of time results in a decision for blunt honesty. "I didn't hurt myself, someone else hurt me."

"There was — a group of people. They didn't like the Evolved, didn't like SESA. They knew I worked with SESA, and decided to take some of their anger out on me." Her gaze flits up and she lifts her shoulders in a small shrug. "I was just a convenient target. And it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. Things were almost worse."

"Oh my gosh," Finch says at what is her normal volume, wide-eyed.

Then, arms sliding onto the tabletop as she dips quickly forward and closer to Emily, unblinkingly, she whispers, "Oh my gosh, Emily." And once more for good measure, apparently, "Oh my GOSH. Are you okay?"

Oh god.

Okay, Emily, maybe honesty wasn't…

She physically cringes as Finch raises her voice, fluttering her hand through the air in a silent bid to shush her down. Emily shoots a look over to the food and drink counter down at the other end of the open space, suddenly concerned someone who might have been friends with Alissa could overhear. Somehow, she doesn't frown, but it's a near thing.

"I'm fine," she insists with all the tone of someone who just wants the line of conversation to end. "Like I said, it could have been a lot worse. It's honestly …" Okay, what might calm Finch down?

… Maybe more honesty? Emily's pressed for other ideas on the fly. "Honestly, everything that's come after has sucked more than dealing with it in the moment." she informs bluntly, voice quiet. "It's very visible, everyone asks about it, and way too many people know about it because I reported what happened. I like to keep my shit to myself, but this?" She gestures vaguely at her neck. "This is almost impossible to."

The gestures reach Finch loud (so to speak) and clear. She clamps a hand over her mouth, which also serves to add to her look of horror.

More honesty seems to have done the job, though, and once her friend has finished explaining, she settles back down in her seat with a contemplative slant to her eyebrows. "… Okay," she breathes out in quiet acceptance, "But are you okay? Do you wanna, like…" her words trail off, half due to uncertainty as to how to deal with this situation and half due to the fact that she's digging around in her open backpack again already. "… Maybe talk about it? Also, you work with SESA people, wow." This is a lot to process all of a sudden, no small measure of awe to her tone.

"We are talking about it, sort of." Emily protests as much as points out with a furrow of her brow. Normally she'd shut down the topic harder, but maybe Finch's split attentions don't put her as on edge about it as she might be otherwise. "There's not a lot to discuss, either way. It sucked, it was a result of shitty luck, not to mention a direct result of being more open than I've ever been before."

She exhales long from her nose, eyes drifting shut. "I want to, in some ways, just go back to cutting myself off entirely. You know? Fuck other people, when all they do are shitty things to each other." Settling her gaze on the pages before her, she shakes her head slightly. "… but when terrible things like that happen, no good comes from putting your head down and just letting it happen to you. Letting it win like that would… just—"

Emily glances back up to Finch with an abruptly harsh, "It's complicated, okay?"

The fact that Emily is talking comes in handy, because Finch finds herself preoccupied with her bag a little longer, carefully pushing this and that aside as she rummages.

When Emily's gaze finally lands on her again, she's holding up a triangular scarf in a partially folded up pile, black and yellow wool alternating in a checkered pattern. "I get it," she offers, with a smile that's smaller than hers generally are, even if the warmth in her eyes is still the same. "You wanna borrow this? It's good for wrapping up over your shoulders and right up under your chin. You know, for sometimes."

Regardless of an answer, she's sliding it over already.

Fuck other people, when all they do are shitty things.

Emily just looks for a moment at the checkered scarf, then back up to Finch. She settles back a bit into her seat, shoulders curving down. Silence appears to be the only thing she has to offer, neither taking the scarf or appearing to acknowledge it for longer than most might consider acceptable.

But then, faith in humanity a little bit more restored for Finch's actions, Emily clears her throat. "—Thanks." she clarifies, wanting to make sure that sentiment is conveyed since nothing else about her is radiating that vibe. Her brow knits. "I'll be sure to give it back," she says, a bit crossly. "It matches your coat. You should have it."

But she has a feeling saying no at this moment is unacceptable. And besides— she really is grateful. Not to the point she immediately puts it on, but enough she lays a hand over the offered garment.

"When your neck's healed up." Finch isn't even looking at Emily anymore, having propped herself up straight to throw some laser focus down onto the notebook she was writing in earlier. The scarf's no longer her business if she's not looking at it, right.

Pursing her lips, she picks her pencil back up and starts scribbling something down. Not writing, though, but a doodle of sorts in the corner of a page. Flipping her pencil over to go over some of it with the stub eraser attached, she breaks the silence again to say, quietly and with furrowed brow, "I'm glad you didn't." Erase erase erase. "Cut yourself off from everything."

Emily accepts Finch's condition for return with a brusque nod, pulling the scarf closer. She almost goes back to her work but reconsiders at the last moment, taking the cloth and unfolding it to drape it around her neck several times in as fashionable a way as possible before tying a tiny knot at the back. She spends a few moments adjusting the lay of it, fluffing it, making no comment as to how it really doesn't match the grey sweater she's wearing.

It's really the thought that counts. And she'd rather have someone thinks she has weird fashion sense than jump to any conclusions about why her neck is bandaged.

She's settling back into her seat when Finch speaks again, distracted as she is. Emily glances up at the comment, at first saying nothing. Me too sounds like such a copout. Instead, the corners of her eyes soften and she looks down at her own work again, picking up her pencil. "Are you planning on heading home for the holidays?" she asks quietly. "Or staying here in town?"

There's more scribbling, but Finch's immediate answer starts less with words and more with a noncommittal noise of "Nnnnnh."

She takes a deep breath, flipping over to a full page of writing, handwriting small and messy and frantic. She presses a palm down on the thing wholesale, as if to smooth it out. "They're… a little hard to reach. I think I might stay here…?" It's not a question, really, but certainly leaves her like one, somewhat subdued in nature even when accounting for the quiet of their current environment. "I've never really done a holiday away from home. But I know people here now, right?" She looks up with a smile, though her shoulders on her already light frame bunch up to make her suddenly seem ever so slightly smaller.

Something in the nature of that reply prompts Emily to immediately supply a: “You do.” Because she does. But they’re not people Emily’s sure she’d trust with a young woman’s welfare especially on a holiday, so her brow knits together, pencil stopping while her thoughts begin to churn. Slowly, she nods at them as they start to cobble together, her throat clearing.

“You do,” she repeats, like she’d not said it once already. Besides, this one sounds more confident. It’s followed by her gaze flitting back to up to Finch to confirm her sincerity. “We’ll do something.”

Finch gasps, nay, GASPS in capital letters and with emphasis, because she does so until her lungs allow no more gasping and then she exhales, thinks about things for a second flat, and gasps again.

"Okay!" She says too loudly, aware after the fact but unapologetic, lowering her volume when she continues, leaning forward and pressed flat against the table so as to lean closer to her friend(!). "You probably have a big family and I might still, like, go to mine, if they write back? For some days, but when you're not busy with other things, I would love that. To do holiday things. Like people do. Not that I'm not people, but not here people." Which, going by her tone and the way her eyes are lighting up, is way more exciting.

She fistpumps quietly. YEAH. "We'll do something."

A slow breath leaves Emily, a quiet laugh disguised as a quiet sigh. She nods and abruptly folds up her notebook, pulling her textbook closed and shutting her laptop screen. "We will," she says with no uncertainty to it. "I'm— I should head out for now, but I'll catch you soon, Finch." She looks away for only a moment to start sliding her things back into her backpack with a certain haste to it. She's got a spark of determination that needs carried out. "Feel free to stay as long as you want."

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