Point of No Return


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Point of No Return
Synopsis Colette asks for an explanation that yields an undesired truth.
Date September 13, 2008

Calvary Cemetery, Queens

The weather wasn't particularly perfect today. Overcast skies muted sunlight into a drab shade of slate gray that cast itself across New York like a shroud. With the temperature having been so high the last several days, sparse fog has been the order of the day on this much cooler evening. A light drizzle falls from the sky, reminding the city that autumn was coming, and the warm memories of summer would soon be gone.

A few hours before sundown, a single girl wanders through the gentle hills of Calvary Cemetary, taking a shortcut through this enormous place of rest from the Upper East Side towards Brooklyn. The young girl — Colette Nichols — carries two heavy bags with her. One fully stuffed backpack worn over both shoulders, the other a worn and old army-green messenger bag hung over her right shoulder. In the rain, all of it was damp and cold, as was Colette. despite the hooded sweater she wore, she was still soaked through, the long walk she was taking havng left her exposed to the rain, and the absorbant nature of the sweater's fabric helped little in the matter. Her black hair was damp, bangs clumping together in thick locks, beads of water on her brow and nose.

As she passed between several rows of headstones, the girl let out a tired sigh, looking up at the sky while raising one hand, rather angrily flipping off the clouds, as if they had done this just to spite her. With a scoff, she marches her way up the hill towards a mausoleum crowning it, ducking under the eaves of the granite slab roof to get out of the rain. Her messenger bag comes off her shoulder, settled down on the worn stone steps. Then her backpack, with much less care, dropped to the stone hastily with a heavy thump. Colette lets out a tired sigh, resting her back up against the wall of the mausoleum, closing her eyes as her hands run up and rake her fingers through her hair, taking a moment of respite.

Of all the places to find another living soul this night… here is probably not the most probable. Not in this damp and dreary weather, which does even more to depress the spirits of visitors than the cemetery might by itself. Assuming such visitors pay attention to the graves. Tamara does not. The dead are beyond her ken and concern; even when wrapped in fog and gray shadow, the many graves evoke no suspicion of the unnatural or supernatural. Not for her.

The living, on the other hand, are very much a concern. She watches the younger teen's approach impassively, nothing moving but her cornflower-blue eyes. They study the flavor of possibilities more than Colette herself, the ever-fluid patterns of maybe, painting them in swathes of 'good' and 'not-good'. Things to encourage; things to avoid. As is so often the case, the best and worst outcomes are inseparable. They depend not on Tamara's actions, but on Colette's reactions.

For a passing moment, the precog's expression is weary and frustrated — but there are none to see it. None save the girl before her, and Colette isn't looking yet. By the time Tamara changes that, quiet footsteps bringing her through the dripping wet to the corner of the mausoleum, her expression is something else entirely. Affection. Kindness. A hint of wariness, hesitation. This may prove the make-or-break point in their relationship, and not even she is immune to apprehension. Rather the opposite. "You'll catch a chill," the girl remarks, a very slight catch falling in the middle of the world you'll. As if it started out as 'you' and got modified at the last minute.

Colette startles easily, that is something that is simply ingrained in her. This, however is compounded by being in a cemetary, coupled with a certain irrational fear of hers, "N-yah!" She shrieks in fright the moment Tamara rounds the corner, having been off in her own little world the entire time, lost in her thoughts enough not to have heard the girl's approach. She managed to lose her footing on the wet stone steps, slipping, stumbling, but miraculously not falling over as she often does. "I-I thought you were a zom — " Recognition suddenly dawns over Colette, and her eyes grow wide.

She had promptly made an ass out of herself in front of the one person she most certainly did not want to, and that was evident in the way her cheeks flushed a warm red color, threatening to spread across the bridge of her nose, with some of that ruddy hue already in her ears, "T-Tamara… w-what…" She couldn't imagine how the girl was here, the sheer coincidence of it all was mind-boggling to Colette. But none of that mattered to her, what mattered is that her friend is here. "Where have you been!?" She immediately breaks into motion, springing down the steps and towards where Tamara stands, arms outstretched with the very simple intent on wrapping the young woman in an embrace. An entirely Colette thing to do.

A gentle smile is Tamara's response to Colette's stumble, and she has the grace to not only allow the embrace but return it. At least briefly, stepping back again after a moment. The question is deemed non-important — wherever she's been, it's not where she is now, and not where she will be — and so the older teen lets it pass. "You're all wet," she says instead, straightening a bit of Colette's damp hair. Then Tamara smiles again, shaking her head. "No zombies here. No people either. Just damp wet rocks. And a little bit of grass."

The embrace strips away layers of stress and fatigue from Colette, that small show of affection seems to invigorate her more than an hour of sitting on the steps would have. It's amazing what having a little hope can do. As Tamara leans back, Colette's hands move to rest on her shoulders, both keeping the girl from retreating too far without making that extra effort to walk out of arm's reach, and to also reaffirm to Colette that Tamara is, indeed, real. "You never know," Colette warns with a mischevios smile, "I never thought people could do, like, crazy stuff with their minds or whatever," She eyes one of the headstones suspiciously, "Maybe zombies are next?" One brow arches, she had been over-thinking that for a good long while.

With a wry, teasing smile crossing her face, Colette can only let out a small, soft sound as Tamara straightens a few unkemp locks of her hair. Her eyes upturn, looking to the girl behind a sheepish smile, "W-what um…" She looks around, then back, fingers curling into the sleeves of Tamara's shirt, as if Colette was afraid the girl might simply turn to smoke and slip through her fingers. "Sit." She insists, motioning with her head over to the stone steps.

She is very much real. Just almost as slippery as water, at least when it suits her. Tamara cants her head as Colette speaks, dark eyes flicking to the same headstone. Looking at something. Through something? The older teen shakes her head, and when her eyes reopen, they're just as blue as before. "No," she assures her companion, setting a hand over one of hers. "They weren't." Tugged down to the steps, Tamara obediently sits. She looks around the steps of the mausoleum, scans the cemetery, as she does so, drawing her lower lip between her teeth in an unsure expression.

Colette cracks a smile when Tamara seems to consider her crazy-talk, her smile growing at the way she humors her odd ideas. Sitting down next to Tamara, Colette looks over at her, just watching her for a time, as if trying to make certain this impossibly chance encounter was taking place. "I…" She seesm embarassed, folding her hands in her lap as she leans forward. "I've been looking for you, everywhere I could." Her mis-matched eyes move to regard Tamara side-long, as if to gauge her reaction. "I left the orphanage," She bites her lower lip, expression mimicing that of the other girl's, "I… um," She looks away, down to her feet, which were scuffing at a rainslicked step, "I missed you?" She tries not to sound obsessive, despite the fact of being just that.

But is it humor? The older teen straightens out a bit of her own rain-damped hair; she's not soaked through, but she too walked through the drizzle. "It's not…" A pause. "You won't find. It. Me," Tamara replies, a slightly halting cadence to the words. "But looking made a difference," she assures Colette, perhaps a bit self-consciously. There's no explaining just what and how, so she doesn't try. Tilting her head, she regards the other girl for a time, gaze steady. "Do you know where you're going?"

Colette has had difficulty understanding everything Tamara says from their first encounter till now, but pieces start to fit together, in so much as her mannerisms and what Colette thinks Tamara means when she says something confusing. The girl smiles, either in understanding or feigned understanding, nodding her head. "Trying always makes the difference," Profound words, for her, "And, uh…" But so easily lost behind a vaneer of simplicity, "Home?" She purses her lips in thought, straightening out her back as she sits up properly. "Back to the church, I guess? Later, though. I was going to see if I could bum some change off of people in the park for lunch." There was not damage to her pride in saying that, she seemed to understand the necessity of her situation. A remarkable moment of maturity for a girl who shrieks at the thought of the walking dead, "Though, I think the more important question now is, where are you going." A smile crosses her lips, "And can I come?"

Tamara seems to muse over Colette's reply just as much as was true in reverse. Maybe it's the words. Maybe it's just the choice of possibilities. "The mirror goes where the shadows do," the older teen remarks, shoulders lifting in a shrug. "Mostly it wasn't too important." She's a bit less careful of her words now than at their prior meetings; the effort isn't worth the gain, especially since Colette's going to realize eventually. Tamara blinks, creases gathering in her brow, her expression that of someone chasing an elusive thought.

"I…" Colette squints, "I don't get it." She seems more disappointed in herself than anything, "You always make these really artistic, kind've poetic comments, and I should probably get the references or whatever…" Her shoulders slouch, "But I'm such a retard that I just smile and nod my head." Her hands move up, fingers threading through her hair at her own disappointment, raking back her bangs away from her brow. She keeps her hands there, holding her hair back, brow tensed and a frustrated look on her face. "I'm… not really smart enough to get it." Her hands release her hair, falling down to her sides as she looks to Tamara. "I — I try though, I mean…" She's so nervous, anxious, worried about everything she says and does.

Distracted from her own mental wanderings, Tamara looks over at Colette — and pokes the other girl in the shoulder. Wrong! "It is what is," she says quietly. "The mirror is broken." Suggesting that it isn't Colette's fault at all. Blue eyes gaze out into the fog for a few moments, hands folding over her knees. Not that they stay put for long, catching in the hem of Tamara's and wrapping the fabric alternately around one finger or another. "Puzzles and pieces. But it's okay for now." And she offers Colette a reassuring, if slightly rueful, smile.

The poke elicits an unexpected squeak from the younger girl, her eyes darting over to Tamara. Despite the good intentions, Colette immediately returns the poke to Tamara in the older girl's shoulder, "Well then you're just weird." Colette decides, wrinkling her nose and momentarially leaning in as she says that, to emphasize the point. "But it's okay, sis always said I was weird too. Guess that makes us both kind've strange." She nods in affirmation and acceptance of this, without needing a further explanation. "So, there is one thing, though…" Her brow tenses for a moment, "Um, how… I mean," She looks around, "What were you doing out here? I — First China town, then when I almost got hit by that asshole, and now this?" She sniffles, Tamara's earlier foretelling vindicated, "I…" She smiles, shaking her head, "You're so weird." Said as a term of endearment, with a smile.

Being called weird doesn't faze Tamara in the least. Neither does the return jab. But she looks over at Colette as her companion speaks, her regard level. Colette's words might be mostly light; the older teen's expression isn't. The specifics might elude her — how and when and what — but the sense of the younger girl's questions comes across nonetheless. Tamara reaches up to set her fingers against the edge of Colette's face, the touch light. "The river runs deep; the road is long," she says quietly. "Are you sure you want to reach for that crossing now?" The words are clear enough, but the girl doesn't look at Colette so much as just that bit past her, a touch of shadow seeming to darken her eyes.

Colette freezes at the touch, every part of her — even her unending talking — comes to a halt. She, notably, doesn't recoil though, she doesn't pull herself away. In that, a sign of trust, she stares at Tamara with a puzzled look in her mis-matched eyes. There's something searching about Colette's look, her brow tensing, like she only barely understands the significance of what is being asked of her, "I want to know everything about you." There is no uncertainty in that, she had spared enough in the consideration of those words. "I… can't really explain it?" A nervous smile creeps up Colette's lips, "B-but, I… Who are you?" She can tell something isn't right, as much as she didn't want to admit it. The truth, though, can be much more difficult for Colette to handle.

Tamara doesn't press the point; she clearly has Colette's attention, and so she lets her hand fall. "Do you?" She averts her gaze, looking out into the mist. Searching in her own way — but for the precog, there is at least no confusion. "I don't know everything," she says softly, the words possibly not meant for Colette. They're audible nonetheless, if only just. Blue eyes swing back to her companion, lurking apprehension of her own in their depths, but no hesitation. "But there was a start." Tamara rises in a smooth motion, holding one hand out to Colette. An offer. "Do you really?" Her gaze never wavers, level and grave. "There is never a way back. The river doesn't turn."

Does she really? That is something Colette tries to consider as she listens to the gravity of Tamara's words, the way she was speaking indicated something of importance, but at the same time — "I do." — Colette is impatient, and stubborn. the girl rises shortly after Tamara does, taking the offered hand, even to the ignorance of her backpack and messenger bag being left behind on the steps. Her focus was, for now, solely on the other girl. "If…" She tries to find the right way to phrase it, the way to speak that won't scare her away. They were both playing dangerous games with words, meanings and intentions. "As long as it means that you won't run away agan," She squeezes Tamara's hand in hers, "At least, not right away. As long as it means…' She looks down, and away, ashamed of something. When Colette looks back, there's only a bittersweet smile, "I want to know why you care, when no one else seemed to."

Tamara's focus is not so intense. At any rate, she stoops to lift the messenger bag with her free hand, directing Colette to take the backpack with a nod. She makes no move to release the younger girl's hand, but after a brief pause, starts down the steps and out under the dripping sky.

"Staying was not always… wise," the girl observes. "And sometimes threads just came apart." It amounts to: no promises. Not exactly, anyway. But she looks sidelong at Colette as they walk. "For what isn't. Shadow and mist. Maybe you walked away. Maybe you didn't. But the road went on. And the shadow was still there; always if."

Tamara shakes her head slowly, knowing the explanation isn't clear. Knowing she can't do any better; certainly not now. So she just tries, lifting a hand to forestall Colette from interrupting. "Later wasn't the same; ghosts slip away. The order's wrong but the return fell now or not at all." A crooked, apologetic smile. "Keep the pieces. The answers do settle."

The more she went on, the more Tamara's actions began to draw a concerned look from Colette. Though when the girl picked up the messenger bag, there — she was right — there was no turning back. Colette bends down, pickin up her backpack hastily, still shouldering it as she catches up to Tamara and walks with her out into the rain, watching her with a furrowed brow and a clear lack of full understanding. "Y-" The hand comes, interruption withheld, and Colette merely listens, trying her best not to ask a thousand questions for every shrouded and vague answer. She tries, as hard as she can, to grasp what it is Tamara means, but both of the answers — about what she is, and what she sees — elude Colette. Her vision of the evolved is so skewed by the destructive, that it seems unfathomable for this to be related. And so, remains quiet, hoping to catch a sliver of something that can shed light on all of the shadows Tamara speaks of.

As they walk, Tamara chooses not to speak, letting Colette think in silence. She didn't give the what, only the why — and that clouds the answer further still. The older girl leads the way to another of the cemetery's mausoleums. This one, she opens easily, tucking the messenger bag away inside, leaning against the wall to one side of the door. The implication, as Tamara steps back, is for Colette to do the same with the backpack. "They were still there," she assures the younger girl. Yet this confidence exists at odds with Tamara's own underlying nerves.

Colette's eyes widen only when Tamara moves to open the mausoleum, her hand beginning to shake in Tamara's out of momentary fright. Her grip tightens, and as she looks to the bag deposited inside, then hears the confusingly worded statement, she feels a momentary understanding. Briefly disengaging her grip on Tamara'a hand, Colette edges her way to the mausoleum door, creeping up towards it before throwing the backpack inside — clearly nothing fragile contained within. She refuses to step into the doorway, hastily hopping down the steps again, reaching out for Tamara's hand once more for reassurance. She wants to ask why — she did ask why, but not this time.

Watching Colette, Tamara smiles softly. She wraps both of her hands briefly around Colette's as the other girl returns, soon letting one of them return to its proper side. The unspoken question is not answered directly; the teen simply nods once. And she begins to walk, leading the way out of the cemetery. "You could wait here," Tamara remarks. It doesn't have the tone of a leading statement; she doesn't mean to suggest that Colette do so now. "It was dry. Open. The only darkness was what you brought."

Eyeing Tamara, Colette raises one brow over her blinded eye, and she shakes her head, "No I couldn't." She explains, tensing her brow as she watches the girl while they walk, tripping over one of those small squarish headstones in the process; one that was lost to an overgrowth of grass. She stumbles from the mis-step, then looks back to Tamara with a crooked smile. "I… I couldn't wait, unless you'd be waiting with me." The sincerity in her words was stronger than her fear of dark, isolated places. Colette looks back to the edge of the graveyard, then to Tamara. This time, she doesn't ask where she's being led, or where she's going. She only trusts, and follows.

The misstep is compensated for automatically, Tamara providing at least some support to prevent the stumble turning into a fall. "You could," she says calmly, but the point is left behind just as the headstone was. The girl leads the way out onto the street, turning without pause to walk down the sidewalk. As they make their way along the road, Tamara hums quietly, sounds defining what is clearly recognizable as a melody despite the lack of any accompaniment.

Out of the cemetary and down the street, Colette was now beginning to have curiosity overwhelming her trust. She looks back, over her shoulder, trying to remember which mausoleum she left her belongings in, then returns her focus to Tamara. She isn't entirely familiar with Queens, and this section of street draws a few curious glances and puzzled stares from the girl as she tries to catch her bearings. She has no clue where she's headed, but for the moment time being, that is fine.

Tamara doesn't attempt to keep Colette's attention from wandering — but her humming breaks off mid-phrase. A few steps later, as they pass beneath the awnings of stores and shops, strains of music become audible over the light patter of raindrops — a busker's playing from down the block, the melody identical to what the older teen is no longer humming. She looks obliquely at Colette, hoping her companion recognizes the commonality; yes, this is significant.

Colette's ear for music isn't a profound one, but she has an appreciation for melodies, an enjoyment of music that while not academic, serves its purpose here. The serving is in how she often finds songs stuck in her head, a few notes here and there, and she can't get them out. This one, the one Tamara hums, it clings to her not only because it is something that was a part of the enigma that is Tamara, but also because she hears it — in full accompaniment — on her way down the street. She quirks a brow, looking in the direction of the music, her head tilted to the side, then eyes Tamara. She doesn't recognize the song, its name anyway, from either hearing, but she does connect that it's the same one Tamara was humming. "S'weird," Colette notes with a crooked smile, a mild look in her eyes suggests that something didn't settle right with her.

That blue gaze remains fixed on Colette, the crooked smile eliciting no echo. Her serious expression doesn't so much as flicker. "There are," she says softly, "two sides on every coin. And sometimes the picture is dingy." Tamara continues on, walking past another storefront, and another — only to pause as they approach a third, free hand reaching across to stop Colette as well. Tamara closes her eyes, tilting her head as though listening to something. "Dog," she simply states.

"Huh?" Colette halts in mid-stride as that hand reaches across and signals for her to wait. She looks from one side to the other, a bit puzzled, "Dog?" She brow scrunches up and she looks back to Tamara, "I — I'm not sure I follow…" Colette looks back to the third storefront, the one Tamara had stopped them in front of, and while it seems rediculous, she hesitates, as if waiting for something. The music was a strange, coincidence after all.

Nothing of Colette's confusion is echoed in Tamara's demeanor. She glances away, attention shifting into the distance — beyond street and stores and sidewalk. Releasing Colette's hand, she takes a half-step to one side. Focused and intent — but waiting. What she waits for comes barreling around the corner, plowing through a knot of pigeons, sending them into startled flight; tongue lolling and tail high, the dog — more of a puppy, really, not quite yet to its full growth; something with shepard or perhaps lab blood in it — continues pell-mell down the sidewalk with little concern for the people on it. Aside, perhaps, from dodging their feet. When the dog closes, Tamara intercepts; one hand catches in its ruff, the other wrapping around its chest. The precog rocks back on her heels, but isn't quite knocked over by blocking the dog's headlong rush — and the puppy, who thinks all this nothing more than a grand game, gleefully switches to licking her face, tail wagging all the while.

Letting out a gasp as she sees the dog come running, Colette takes a step back and away from it as it charges towards the pair. When Tamara moves towards the dog, however, Colette's expression shifts to a puzzled one. The dog rushes in, is summarily grabbed and held by the older girl, and all Colette can do is tilt her head to the side in confusion. Her brow tenses and she takes a half step forward, wary of the dog until it starts licking Tamara's cheek, then, "H-hey! Sandwich dog!" Puffing out her cheeks, Colette stomps one foot on the ground, then crouches next to Tamara, a smile forming — reluctantly — on her lips. "This is the dog from the park that…" Now it clicks, "W-wait. How did — " Her hand hesitates a few inches from the shepherd-lab mixed breed, and she looks at Tamara with both a confused and startled expression. "How did you?" Colette crouches down towards the pair, finally moving her hand to lightly scratch across the top of its head, but her eyes never leave Tamara. "You… you knew that — " Realization, confusion, and fear come next, "Oh my God you knew about the car!" Colette can't explain it, not in a way that doesn't make her angry inside, and all she does is stare slack-jawed at Tamara, wavering in her balance, and slumping down onto her backside from the crouch.

"T-Tam…" Now a nickname, perhaps not the most appropriate time, perhaps she just couldn't finish the rest of her name. "You… you knew I was…" She looks away, Colette's eyes narrowing as her brow creases and her lips press hard together. She struggles with this, then looks back quickly to Tamara, eyes wide, "I'm wrong, right? This is like the zombies, and the aliens, and — and — " Her eyes begin to water, confusion and disbelief leading the way to emotional overload, "I'm just being stupid, r-right?"

Dark eyes turn to Colette, regardless of the dog's intent to lick all the skin off her face — but if Tamara worries over how this will all wind up, she doesn't say it. The lingering concern, apprehension, wariness is there in her expression, but has been accepted and set aside. It isn't a driving force for her. She waits as the younger girl struggles with the realization, seeks confirmation, an easy answer — and for her own part, the teen offers neither that affirmation nor denial. Straightening, keeping one hand firmly on the dog, Tamara just asks one quiet question: "Do you want to take her home?" Maybe it'll provide a focus. Maybe not. She can but try.

Colette blinks, wiping at her eyes with the damp sleeve of her sweater. She sniffles, looking from the dog to Tamara, "H-home? I… I don't have a home." Her jaw tenses as she emphasizes that, then once she forgets to keep it stilled in place, it begins trembling, much like the rest of her. "You — Y-you knew?" Colette breathes in a single, shuddering breath, trying to rein in her emotions, "You knew." It no longer is something up for question, the silence on the answer seems, to Colette, speak volumes. "Oh my God," She raises one sleeve-covered hand, holding it up to her mouth where sit sits. Things were starting to make sense to Colette in a way she doesn't want them to, in a way that scares her.

Without saying anything more, Colette pushes herself back into a crouch, then leans forward on her hands and knees. She crawls over, shaking one hand free from within her sleeve, and touches Tamara on the shoulder testingly. She looks to be searching to find if the girl was real or not, or really there in front of her. Swallowing dryly, Colette looks down to the dog for a moment, watching the way it contentedly licks at Tamara's cheek, then back to the girl, "You knew." It comes out as a whisper, her shaky hand still there, eyes wide. "You saved me…" Then, with a wavering tone of voice, she finally asks, "Why?"

She's really real. Very real. Tamara closes her eyes as Colette asks that question, breathing out a quiet sigh. Her free hand rubs at the dog's head, to keep it content at being held; now that the teen's standing, it can't very well lick her face anymore. Not without jumping up, and her hold prevents that. "Do you remember… what I said? …Earlier?" Tamara looks to Colette again, her gaze still on the darker side of blue.

Colette looks up at the girl, still crouched down on the ground after a fashion. Her eyes are wide, unblinking, and she stares with a blank and confused expression. At first, her head shakes back and forth slowly, "Y-you said… a lot of things, I mean, t-that…" Didn't make sense, didn't seem right, weren't what I wanted to hear. There's a myriad of possibilities there, but Colette chooses, "Were confusing." Her gaze doesn't leave Tamara for a moment. "Just…" She shakes her head, pushing up with her arms and then legs to shakily rise to her feet, "Just tell me why you did, w-why did you save me… I… I didn't — " She winces, looking away finally, "I didn't ask for…" Her arms start to shake, and she turns back to Tamara with a pleading look. "Why me? Why save me, I'm not — " Important, worth saving, anyone, afraid to die. Again, so many things, so many terrible possibilities. "I'm not special."

Tamara shakes her head slowly. Denial, but only in small part; also apology and regret. "It got muddier. It… I can't…" Her free hand rubs at her face, doing nothing to smooth out the strain in her expression. The girl draws in and releases a deep breath. "'Just' isn't simple. Not for the mirror." Looking over at Colette, the precog smiles — a small, slow curve of her lips; sympathy, empathy, but with that gentle steel behind it that says 'you're totally and completely wrong, but that's okay; you'll admit it eventually'. "Aren't you?" Chivvying the dog forward, Tamara begins to walk down the street, neither encouraging nor forbidding Colette's company — that's for the younger girl to decide.

Colette blinks, watching Tamara begin to move away as the dog is urged forward, "W-wait!" She doesn't look away, she's afraid that Tamara and the answer she needs will vanish like so many times before. She hustles over, circling in front of Tamara, then throws her arms down to her sides, one foot stamping the ground. "N-no, I didn't — " She misinterprets the departure, but it spurs her on, "I'm nobody special, I — " Every time she's about to speak out about something, in the myriad possibilities as well, she halts her tongue. She can't bring herself to admit what she fears about Tamara. "Food, saving my life, coming to find me here…" She waves flippantly in the direction of the cemetary with one hand, "W-why!? Do — " She tenses, "Do you actually…" Care. She says it so many times, but right now she can't bring herself to speak the words; This time, anyway. "Is this just some game!?" She's afraid, more so than angry. But she's so afraid.

As Colette decides to block her motion, Tamara releases the dog. At the stomping of the foot, it decides there are probably better people to play with somewhere, and pads off down the street. Tilting her head, the older teen studies the younger with those fey, dark eyes. "Nothing is," she says quietly. Tamara's lips press together in what might be the antithesis of a smile — not a grimace, but an expression that has nothing of happiness in it. "Your shadows. Your road. You asked and you got the answer. What to do with it was also your choice." The sentences, carefully spoken, don't come easily, and she sets a hand against her head.

Anger and confusion fade as Colette listens to Tamara, her hands retreat into the safety of her sleeves, fingers curling around the hem. She raises her brows for a moment, then lowers them into a frustrated expression while staring down at her feet. Her teeth draw over her lower lip, and she mouths some words to herself, eyes beginning to water again. The young girl stays silent, shoulders trembling both from the chill of her damp sweater and her inner conflict. When she finally looks up again, following Tamara's motion with reddened eyes, her voice cracks and she speaks in a quiet and uneven tone. "Where is it?" At first it doesn't make sense, "Where… where you want to live? You asked if you could live there too…" Colette's voice trails off as she looks away, wrapping her arms around her waist. Her shoulders roll forward, like she's trying to curl up in on herself and disappear. "I don't want…" A sniffle, both from the exterior and interior problems, "I just want a friend."

Trying as she might to keep everything together, to keep the emotions in and the anger away, the hatred of what she's trying to ignore away, Colette lets out a whimper. A few steps are taken forward, and she begins to reach out to Tamara, then stops, "I just — I thought…" She hesitates, closing her eyes and swallowing noisily, "I thought you just cared. But, I don't understand… You, you can…" Colette closes her eyes hard, breathing in through her nose and forcing her shoulders back. She opens her eyes, despite the motion causing the built up tears to roll down her cheeks.

"I want… I just want to be your friend." She holds out that shaky hand, trying to wriggle it free of her sleeve, "I don't care about the… the whatever this is." She motions around vaguely with that hand. "All I know, is that you've made me really happy. You — You make me feel wanted, and… and I smile when you're around." She nods, mostly to herself. "S-so…" She's closer to saying what she wants, despite herself. "So even… even if you might be…" So close, "Be…" There. "One of them, I don't care. Whether you did it because you felt you were supposed to, or… or because you just wanted to, it doesn't matter. You did. You were nice to me, you saved me… and…" She lowers her head, ashamed. Colette's words come out as a whisper again, "I'm lonely." Then, she looks up, managing to smile nervously. "That's all I understand. T-that you knew I'd be hurt, and you saved me. That makes you different from everybody else, a-and…" She shakes her head, and simply states, " I really like you, a-and… and I don't want you to disappear again."

Tamara waits; it's a necessary skill. Dark eyes watch Colette from between the fingers of her upraised hand, which doesn't soon leave its place on her forehead. Their shape and set are the only outward sign of her own anxiety — as at most important crossroads, her demeanor is quiet and still. Very still.

She breathes. She listens. Most of the words just wash through Tamara's awareness, references to things she can't afford to recall, to explanations she can't really give. But when Colette reaches out, Tamara's hand meets hers halfway. Slender fingers close around it, their grip gentle but not at all hesitant or tenuous. "Promises were… are… hard," she says quietly, closing her eyes against the headache building behind the hand that still hasn't left her forehead. If Colette only knew how much work she's put into these meetings… just to delay that realization.

"Can't… can't not… go, sometimes." Find the words. The ones that make most sense. But they fall away so fast. "Shadows didn't move… from the distance." Tamara shakes her head slowly; promptly thinks better of the motion. Settles for looking over at Colette instead, pupils contracting, gaze shading to something less dark and more blue. Please forgive me for being what I am. For doing what I have to do.

"Could… come back. Mostly. If you wanted." Are you sure?

Colette's thoughts swim at the words Tamara says, so much of it flies past her, shown in a hazy expression of confusion on her face, strained with the attempt to comprehend something that simply can't be. But where words fail, actions take up the slack, and the simplest of gestures brings to the young girl a look of both relief and ease. Fingers curl around Tamara's hand in like return, a little more firm, perhaps needily so, as if to say don't go.

She tries to listen, to understand, but that she fails at. The fear and nervousness in her eyes is ever-present, the way someone would look at a large and wild animal they are trying to approach; full of fear, but at the same time trying to restrain it. "I…" She loses her words for a moment, watching the change of expression in Tamara's eyes, "I don't understand." It isn't said to plead for understanding, more in the vein that she hopes that her ignorance can be forgiven, resigning herself to not know the unknown. "But — but I want to." Those fingers curl just a little tighter, and she steps forward to stand closed, her hand cool to the touch.

"Come back." She says in a soft voice, her other hand slowly moving up to curl around the one she holds, turning her strained expression into a smile, trying to ignore the voice in the back of her mind telling her to run, "That's what I want. Whenever — however you mean that, it…" Her gaze finally breaks, wandering the ground as if expecting to find the answers strewn about her feet. She looks back up, her smile anxious, "If that's what it takes, to not have you slip away. So I don't lose someone else."

Funny how, when Colette affirms her decision, it's Tamara who relaxes, and greatly so. She listens less to the words as such, and more to the ever-shifting possibilities — the successful closing of roads she wanted to avoid. Not all of them, by any measure… but enough. Enough for today.

"Good," the older teen states, voice soft and weary. A beat of silence, blue eyes closed; then she draws in a breath, looking up to Colette, through Colette. "Should go." A light tug on the hand she holds suggests Tamara means that for the both of them, not one or the other. "S'wet." Their clothes, at least, and the still-dripping sky, even if the sidewalk is sheltered beneath shop awnings.

So much tension has built up in Colette, uncertainty and wariness. She has no idea how things will end, why she's chosing to ignore all of the spite, all of the hate she's collected. Now, confronted with a contradiction; both the thing she wants and the thing she fears, everything Colette had thought she knew about herself starts to unravel.

The words Tamara says make the strong facade Colette puts on crack a little, a half laugh, half sniffling sub croaks out from the girl, pushed away by an anxious smile. She closes one eye, reaching up with her free hand to wipe at her cheek, wet from rain and emotion. That tension starts to ease, but the adamancy of her grip on Tamara's hand does not. That tug, though, guiding and welcoming, turns an anxious smile into a hopeful one.

Colette looks up at the sky, wrinkling her nose, and scrunching up her brow as if to consider the clouds, "Yeah…" She says distantly, starting to move with the older girl's urging, "But it's not as cold now."

Tamara starts walking as well, more or less leading the way back towards where they came from. She's perfectly willing to hold Colette's hand, at least for the time being — and happy that the explanation period is over. Here and now, anyway. The older teen offers the younger a gentle smile. "Of course not," she replies. "It's not empty here."

September 13th: The Strong One
September 13th: This is My Friend
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