Picking At Scabs


devi_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title Picking at Scabs
Synopsis The walls are coming down between two women.
Date April 7, 2019

Anarchy Customs II

Located in the northern part of the Sheepshead Bay, the immortal sea offers a lapping, timid and yet relentless, resonance from somewhere nearby… until it's interrupted by the banging, crashing, or booming that usually emanates from the nearby garage. Set into the crumbling brick structure that looks like one of many in this barely rehabilitated region are two large, rolling bay doors. The corrugated metal entrances are framed by the copper-green patina of rust around the edges.

Just inside, the large garage is already home several vehicles with varying numbers of wheels; parts in different states of dismantling, repair, reconstruction, or destruction; and some things that are simply unidentifiable in their current state.

A small, unassuming, black-painted door with an obvious deadbolt is set off in the back corner.

Overcast skies lend a hopeful-pessimism to the day, lingered and yet drifting enough to tease at the prospects of a brighter atmosphere just around the corner. The garage's bay doors are thrown open to bring in the freshness of Spring and exchange out the stagnant, cold aromas of musty concrete and rusted metal that mark this once-abandoned facility.

Inside there’s a sharp clap, followed by a strange rustling.

“Fuck. Piece o’… Get over there!”

Inside, Devi’s one arm is stuck fast in a black sling. Her unrestrained hand is clawed into the corner of a thick, plastic sheet. The snapping sound echoes again as a quick, jerky wave attempts to alight the sheet and settle it just so over the shell of what was once a moving vehicle. The growl in her throat suggests its not met its appropriate target.

"Would you like a spare set of hands on the other side?" asks the blonde from the doorway. Elisabeth wanted to see how Devi's new garage was coming along — she didn't expect to find the other woman growling at things. Nor with a sling on one arm. A brow quirks upward as she moves toward the other side of the vehicle and swoops up the corner of the tarp to take with her. "What the hell happened to you?" she queries, her tone a little on the wary side. She's uncertain 1) she's not about to get her head bit off mainly because she's not sure of Dev's mood at the moment, and 2) whether or not to get upset because did a vehicle land on her? Or something more… physical?
Dark locks hiss across the strap of the sling and slither round to her other side as she turns her dark eyes quickly to the doorway. There’s a blink, a reset if you will, before her dark brows drift upward and take the corners of her aqua-painted lips with them. “Look what the cat dragged in…” The growl is easily replaced with her naturally airy, husky way. With three hands doing the work previously attempting by one, the painters sheet is easily shifted into place. “Thanks, doll.”

The biker moves around to the front of the vehicle’s skeleton and pinches a few last adjustments into place, clearly just busying herself more than doing anything worthwhile, as she averts her gaze and answers, “igotshot”. It’s a quiet, muffled, shamed response. Someone bested Devi and she’s none-too-thrilled.

"You go—" Right. Elisabeth isn't sure how to respond to that one and bites back an incredulous tone to think through her reply a little. It's a fight not to pepper Devi with questions. And her blue eyes rest on the biker. "Fuck it," she decides. "1) Are you okay? 2) How the hell did you get shot? And 3) Do I need to go have your back and turn some fucker's brain to tapioca?"

She pauses, thinks about her three questions, and then nods. "Yeah. Those answers will do for the moment," Elisabeth determines.

Blue lips purse off to the right and push out a sigh in a rushed, exasperated puff. Devi straightens and reluctantly looks back to Elisbaeth. When her dark gaze takes in the blonde, however, these a pause before her shoulders (even the wounded one), relax visibly. She ticks up her index finger. “Point blank. Through-and-through. I’ll be good, tats will need some TLC. Just shit timing what with all this.” She turns the finger parallel with the ground and sweeps it in an indication of the garage.

Back around she comes, ticking up fingers two and three in turn. “Trying to help an Evo in some pop up market. Shit just got out of control. And, the dee-bee got away, so you’re happy to help me try and find ‘im, but now I can never eat pudding… thanks for that.” She grins and moves towards a small, beaten blue cooler. “Now, if you’re ‘bout done with the third degree - how are you holdin’ up?”

Hmmmmm. Elisabeth eyes Devi thoughtfully. "You're welcome. Through and through's not so bad. You get over them quickly enough in that spot, long as it didn't break any bone," she agrees mildly. It's a sad state of affairs when getting shot is common ground. "Though next time, if it's point blank, just shove the damn thing sideways and twist. It'll break his fingers in the trigger guard and the bullet'll miss. I mean… seriously, woman, must I teach you everything?"

Yes. She's giving the one shot some serious shit.

Finding a convenient post to lean back against, Liz tips her head a bit to rest it on the pole and considers. "All in all? I guess I'm holding up," she replies. "Feeling…. On shaky ground, I suppose. Restless. New job doesn't start for a bit yet, and I'm wandering around Raytech like the Ghost of Christmas Past." She waves that off. "Not really. But … " Theres a long pause. "I don't really know how to stop looking over my shoulder," she finally breathes out. "Things with Richard are going well. Almost too well, and that's just stupid. Aurora's still having nightmares — fuck, I'm still having nightmares. And it still feels like I'm… acting out a role, waiting for the lights to go down and real life to start again."

She looks at Devi. "TMI?"

“‘Was tryin’ to wedge it outta battery - he was just faster than me.” This appears to be the last of the topic that has wounded Devi’s ego as much as her shoulder.

The biker woman comes back around to Liz with a bottle of beer popped and extended. Medication prescribed and delivered, Devi leans back onto the freshly covered vehicle with a crinkling of plastic under her rear and a little less grace than normal as she tries to find a comfortable balance. All the same, her dark gaze lingers upon Liz… her friend.

That thought needs a drink, wetting her whistle before she manages a reply. “Nah. Not too much, not stupid either.” She gestures her beer. “If there’s anything I can do to help Little Miss, let me know. As for you-…” Devi inclines her chin, gazing across her nose at Elisabeth. “Raytech ain’t your home, as much as it ain’t mine either.” She lofts a brow. “Richard and Aurora - that’s your home. But, you can’t sit still - dunno if you ever could, but I’m bettin’ you don’t know how now either way. That’s no so bad.” She shrugs. “Till you’re in limbo.”

“Wandering the halls won’t do shit.” Devi comments with a tone of experience, pausing to sip again. “The job’ll help, yeah? But, as for looking over your shoulder…” She rolls her lower lip beneath her teeth. “That’ll let up some when you believe you deserve it.”

Well, this wasn't where she was expecting to find that level of understanding. "Yeah." The word is imbued with chagrin, and Elisabeth takes the bottle and swallows a mouthful from it. She thinks about it for a minute and then smiles faintly. "I never could." Sit still, that is. "Richard used to laugh his ass off — he could tell when I was losing my shit by how much food was scattered around the apartment. My mom and I use cooking to blow off steam. Dad was the one who got me into running. Somewhere in college, I guess I really found music as the way out of it."

As she pauses, Elisabeth seems to review something in her own head. Then she blinks it away and refocuses on Devi. "You asked me what I can't do. I can't sit still. I can't let other people fight for me. I can't figure out for the life of me what it is I'm supposed to do with this life, but I always seem to be the last one standing. And clearly there's something I'm supposed to do, or you'd think just by the very nature of the odds, I'd be dead already." She grins a bit. "I'm not good at quitting the overthinking."

Devi listens with a casual interest, until that gnawing little topic of what the blond can’t do comes back full circle. Aqua lips tilt up on one side like a playful seesaw. The biker pulls her beer bottle into her sternum and leans her torso forward, still anchored by her rump resting on the plastic-draped vehicle. “Would you look at that,” she says in a clandestine fashion. “She’s human.”

“And that’s okay, too.”

The biker woman lingers, looking up at Liz from beneath her darkly lined, mascaraed lashes. She waits a beat and makes sure she’s holding the blonde’s attention so that, despite the casual air with which she says anything, it’s clear there is a weight to her words.

The raven haired woman indulges a deep breath and leans back, wincing as she shifts her left shoulder to adjust the weight of her arm in the sling. “You know what I think? There isn’t any one thing we’re supposed to be doing, but several. And some of us, we ain’t supposed to be doing anything at all.” She sips the beer and then wipes her lips with the back of her wrist, miraculous blue lipstick unphased. Devi appears to mull something over, chewing the inside of her cheek, but ultimately shakes her head. “As any good stoner will tell you - be present.” She tips her beer one way and her head in the other in a shrug-like gesture her wounded shoulder can’t quite manage.

"Working on that. It's the same advice I gave Magnes." That seems like forever ago now. Elisabeth is quiet for a long moment, remembering those days. Arthur's world, in some ways, was a blessing for them — despite being 'underground,' they were able to have a life, raise the kids in relative safety, and simply be. She takes another swallow of the beer and then offers a smile. "Did you honestly doubt that I was human?" she asks curiously.

“Wonderwoman was a comic when I was a kid. Then superpowers became a norm.” Devi looks down to where her thumb nail scratches and peels at the soggy label on her beer bottle. “So, now the concept of super human is something else - somethin’ more like you.” She cants her head, cocked smile at the ready when her gaze flits back up to Liz. “One could also say you’re deep in Raytech, but I’d tell if you were a robot,” she teases, widening her eyes playfully. Her dark pupils do not dilate or expand as Liz has seen them do so often when Devi has considered the blonde time and again since her return.

Swallowing another mouthful of beer, Elisabeth grimaces faintly. "I'm no fucking Wonder Woman." There's a gravity to those words, a rejection of what she sees as a pedestal. Tipping her head thoughtfully, she asks outright, "What do you see when you look at me like that?"

Devi’s jaw tenses, her gaze holding Liz a moment longer than is necessary. “I try not to.” It said with clear admission of failure. “Use it at all, really. Looking at people that way - isn’t that how Warren ended up all Looney Tune? And work?” She turns her face over her busted shoulder. “Feels like cheatin’.” Rock meet hard place.
The biker takes a deep breath and when she turns back to Liz, her irises have been swallowed up by abyssal, black pupils. Devi’s shoulders gives a little shiver. “I don’t see much, really, when it comes to people. You aren’t machines. I don’t see the workings, but I want too. It’s an itch.” She grits her teeth. “What I end up seeing is some mash up of potential… the parts of the mechanical world around you trying to fit into your outline.” She lifts a hand and points, tracing the shape of Liz’s body out in front of you. “And what I feel is some… ghost of all us cogs in a greater machine, the potential we have to build something great… or something fucking terrible.” A pause. “And your potential… it’s limitless.”

Devi clamps her eyes shut and raises her beer, tipping her head back to take a couple of hearty glugs to help her swallow and digest that strange episode.

Elisabeth's tone is gentle, "I guess I should have said 'what is it that you're trying to see when you look at me like that' — I didn't mean that you should or shouldn't look. I just didn't know what your ability was." She looks concerned at the way that Devi seems to react, genuinely puzzled by the last comment, and asks in a quiet tone, "Isn't everyone's potential limitless? I'm sorry that it causes such strain, though — it can't be easy to have an ability that you have to functionally work to turn off instead of on." Telepathy is another of those abilities, so far as she's concerned — something you have to fight to block out instead of something you have to focus to use. "I've always been grateful that mine works the opposite way."

“Oh.” Devi snorts over her beer bottle. Lowering it and opening her eyes, the unnerving pupil-effect of her ability has vanished and for all purposes she looks normal - as normal as she can anyway. “Shit. Sorry, I assumed that sorta crap was common knowledge at RayWorld. I stay outta the sewing circle, but I assumed everyone else just shared shit.”

The biker tips her head, a few longs streams of her dark hair contouring to the shape of her jaw. “No,” she says flatly regarding people’s potential. “Remember? Some people don’t have shit to do. Some aren’t even cogs, they’re just… oil. Lube. Blood. Whatever. Nice to have around, but not necessary to the whole…” She waves her bottle. “Big picture.”

Blink. Suddenly Devi sets her nearly emptied bottle on the hood of the car and rubs her black-painted nails at her temple. “Damn. Does that sound fucking cracked? Am I losing it?”

Huffing out a laugh, Elisabeth murmurs wryly, "I wish you sounded fucking cracked." The roll of her blue eyes is expressive, but she shrugs slightly. "It's… interesting, actually. That you see something like that." At least it is to her — it gives Liz something else to contemplate in the context of other things going on in her life. "Does it give you a headache to use it when you're not looking at mechanical stuff?" she asks curiously.

“How the fuck did you turn this whole conversation around, anyway?”

Devi grins, but the expression fails to hide the way she grinds her teeth as she considers this latest question regarding her ability. “Nah. It’s… gnawing.” She gestures her unrestrained hand in a claw like motion at her gut, trying to visually explain the feeling. “It’s like, this want for more, like the mechanics aren’t enough to finish piecing some helterskelter puzzle shit together… If had just a bit more, could see just a little further, I’d have the answers…” And that, right there, is the crux of the addiction that trumps all her others. Just a little more. Just a little further. Just one more look. Just one more hit.

“It’s trippy,” she finally says, the casualness of her husky tones trying to skirt the heavier turn of this conversation and sweep it back under a tarp where it belongs. “Yours ever bother you?”

Looking down, Elisabeth sets her bottle on the ground. It's not quite empty, but she doesn't seem to intend to finish it. As she rises back up, she leans back against that pole again with her hands behind her hips while she considers the questions. "I didn't mean to turn it around. You're welcome to ask me whatever you want… frankly, not much about my power is a secret. And certainly won't be once I start the job." She blows out a slow breath.

"Mine… doesn't bother me that way, no. I have to actually focus to use it, its natural state is 'off.' That being said… it can be troublesome at times. I've had PTSD for years, even before I disappeared. Panic attacks or even not full-on attacks just high levels of anxiety pretty much trigger it and are a dead giveaway that I'm either freaking out or on a hair trigger…. Or both." She swallows. "Funnily enough for the worst of my travels, it didn't happen. And now it's fucking happening every time I turn around." She sounds a bit disgruntled about that. "I've been known to accidentally activate them coming up out of nightmares, as well… it can be a little dicey. Usually it's limited to breaking every glass, window, and mirror in my immediate vicinity." She looks at Devi with a rueful smile. "Thank God for bulletproof glass, I guess. I've only managed to crack one of the windows in the apartment. But… occasionally if it's really bad, the subsonics roll off and it can be physically uncomfortable. Pressure in the chest or nausea, mostly."

Devi grimaces briefly to hear about the strange effects of this very different ability. “Damn.” It seems to be all she has to say on the topic despite all the wisdoms she had to offer on others. The biker leans back, free hand rubbing at the back of her neck. “Levi had somethin’ like that - anxiety,” she starts with obvious hesitance. “Weird thing - our life was never … settled down, and it never showed.” She exhales through her nose in a sound of mild disbelief. “Then we opened up the fist AC garage, got cushy and comfortable, and the episodes started…”

She bobs her brows once. “Docs said it’s because he was safe.” Dark eyes turn back over Liz’s face. “The brain knew he was in a good space and could now start the process of diggin’ up all the old shit, sorting and mending or whatever.” She shrugs, but watches the blonde with a casual interest.

Shrugging slightly, Elisabeth admits, "Pretty much the right explanation, from what I can tell." She nibbles on a corner of her lower lip and adds, "It's why that day at the beach Richard reacted the way he did. He …. " Well. She grins, a memory making her chuckle wryly. "He's intimately acquainted with what happens when I lose my shit. He sort of landed in the ocean one time when I lost it and lashed out at him. It was kind of funny." In retrospect, it's something she can definitely laugh over. Back then not so much, but it's been a lot of years.

Lips of matte aqua draw up in Devi’s devilishly charming way. “You bring a whole new level into a good ol’ tongue lashing.” Her husky laugh rolls freely before she pushes up off the vehicle shell that’s been holding her weight the whole while. She crosses the concrete between them easily, but hesitates when she gets there, as if there’s some invisible line she’s toeing uncertainly.

“You got this,” she utters. And then her free hand reaches out across the phantom, electric fence and gives Liz’s bicep a supportive squeeze. “And when you don’t - the rest of us’ve got you.”

Laughing, Elisabeth wrinkles up her nose. "Well, yeah… you could definitely say that." She watches the other woman thoughtfully, and when Devi pauses, Liz isn't entirely sure what to expect. The gesture brings a brief lump to her throat, but she swallows hard and says quietly, "Thank you. I won't forget." Her smile softens to a fainter grin, her hand rising to cover the one on her arm. "I hope you know that it goes both ways. And it now, God help you, includes Isabelle too — she's a serious badass." Amusement lingers in her blue eyes. "Richard's foster …. Whatever, I'm not allowed to call it siblings cuz it squicks him. Cuz he fucked her for a while. Or… one version of her. This craziness is totally normal. So instead, I get to have her for a sister." She grins, rolling her eyes.

But in all seriousness for a moment, she tells Devi, "You've stuck by him for a lot of years. Whether you liked it or not, it means you also get my backing. But you've earned it on your own. So I'm … really glad to have yours on my own merits."

Fingers twitch briefly and then settle under Liz’s own. As the blonde begins to elaborate on the package deal that includes one saucy pyrokinetic, Devi’s grin reignites. “Awyaaa,” she says, clearly gungho about the new posse of women that, no doubt, create a recipe of strength, fun, and trouble - not necessarily in that order.

The twists and turns of Richard’s bedmate-adopted sibling has Devi rubbing the heel of her hand against her brows before scratching her head with an expression of pained confusion. “Oh hell. That’s a little weird, even for me.” She holds up her hand to reveal a tiny space between thumb and forefinger. “Just a little though.”

Eh…. Weird is just the name of the game around here, clearly. Elisabeth just laughs.

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