Porridge And Pyjamas


tamara_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Porridge and Pyjamas
Synopsis The morning after she first stirred from her 12-day coma, Tamara is once again capable of being herself.
Date November 21 2011

A lakeside fishing resort in remote Minnesota

Comfort might be the first impression as wakefulness returns to a sleeper, or at least warmth.

The room is sealed up against the cold as best it can be, while the bed is neatly swathed in brightly-coloured woollen blankets, placed atop a softer sheet beneath. Tamara’s return to activity the day before had caused Ygraine no small degree of concern, and when she managed to get the blonde settled back down to rest she did her best to ensure that the seer’s sleep was as gentle and undisturbed as possible.

Now, the Briton sits close by the bed, in the puddle of light cast by a single lamp. A paperback - a French translation of a classic German volume on Crusading history - now rests on her lap, a marker tucked into place. She’s frowning pensively into the middle distance, long hair swept forward over one shoulder, a brush moving in steady rhythm The vibrant red dye she had carried into the Ark has now been replaced by glossy black, the lowest 12” or so dipped in a deep blue. Her clothing has also changed: custom-tailored leathers and advanced combat armour have been replaced with tight leggings, high boots, and a comfortably baggy woollen sweater, worn over a high-necked top.

"The blue is nice."

It says something that the first thing Tamara does today is speak, rather than trip over an endtable — and not only that, but speak with relevance to the present moment. Blue eyes regard Ygraine from where the younger woman's head still rests on the pillow, framed by disarrayed blonde hair; weariness lurks in the edges of her expression despite her long sleep, yet there is a presence to her regard that was missing yesterday. Similarly, the seer shows no immediate inclination to rise, does not reach out for her companion for support beyond the moral.

"Was the book a good one?"

Ygraine can’t help but start in surprise… before letting out a low laugh, her smile soft, warm, and uncomplicatedly pleased as she drags her thoughts and gaze back to the here and now, turning her head to focus upon Tamara.

“Thank you.”

Working the brush free, she twists around to set it beside the lamp, before reaching over to lightly touch fingertips to Tamara’s hand. “I’m glad you like it. And….” She glances down to her lap for a moment, combining a shrug and a chuckle. “Yes. It is. It’s rather out of date in its thinking now” - the time-spanning seer is offered an amusedly wry little grin - “but there are good reasons for it being regarded as one of the foundational works in the field. Seeing something of what underpins everything that comes after it… that tends to seem worthwhile to me.”

Tamara echoes the smile she is given, turning her hand to lightly fold her fingers around Ygraine's. Shortly after, she pushes the blankets back and sits up, hooking her lower legs over the edge of the bed. Someone dressed her thematically for the impending season — light blue pajamas with a snowflake pattern, long-sleeved, their texture just a bit fuzzy. She tips her head as Ygraine proceeds to discuss the importance of her book, attentive but with a faintly tolerant air: interest for the sake of someone else's interest, rather than personal investment.

Reaching out for the book in question, drawing it to herself, Tamara sets her hands on either cover and lets it fall open to a random page. She regards the French verbiage with mild, abstracted interest, then closes it back up and passes the volume back to its rightful possessor. "Foundations are important," she affirms… a statement that may or may not actually have anything to do with the book in question.

Ygraine took the chance to deliver a supportive little squeeze to Tamara’s hand, strength held carefully in check for the sake of the malnourished blonde. Then she nods agreement, venturing another warmly affectionate smile.

“I thought you might agree,” she says softly, gaze firmly on Tamara’s face as she accepts the return of her book - seemingly quite well aware of extra layers to the topic, and wholly comfortable with at least this much imprecision and breadth. “I wish that I could see more of the foundations. Provide more for you. But I will try, I promise.”

Even if Tamara remembers everything she might ever say, Ygraine chooses to invest belief in the value of actually uttering the words and making the pledge.

Those words earn Ygraine another smile, broad, affectionate and sincere. Dropping stockinged feet to the floor, Tamara takes a step forward to stand beside her chair, resting a hand on the woman's shoulder and pressing a brief kiss to her cheek. "Don't worry. Foundations were. That's all they needed to be."

As she steps back, Tamara snags the brush, although she doesn't seem inclined to immediately apply it to her own hair. Even though it could use brushing, recently trimmed though it might be. More steps move her towards the room's door. "Were you staying here?" she asks, more prompt than query; the answer, in this case, she knows to be invariable.

Ygraine - very nearly as pale as the blonde - colours quickly in response to the kiss, clearly more than a little touched by the gesture. But she smiles warmly, pleasure evidently outweighing any embarrassment, and rises to her feet with the unthinking grace of the martial artist and traceur recent months have seen her become.

“Since we got here, I have spent a lot of time in this room, watching over you,” she provides by way of answer to the spoken tense, before continuing to her side of the mirrored present. “But I was thinking of coming with you now, if you did not mind the company. I could fix you something to eat, if you would like.”

Pausing shy of the doorway, Tamara casts a glance over her shoulder, amusement crinkling the corners of her eyes. She holds out the hand devoid of brush, waist level, palm angled back. "That's an invitation," she informs the other woman, good-natured implicit answer to the not-quite question.

The seeress then leads the way out of the bedroom and into the main part of the building, pausing a moment as she steps into the kitchen — the better to contemplate its contents, obscured though they might be behind cabinet and fridge doors. Releasing Ygraine's hand, Tamara moves to a particular cupboard and fetches out a bin of oats and another of raisins. Because that, too, was essentially inevitable — well, that or the question what do you want, which can of worms she is currently disinclined to entertain.

Ygraine happily accepted the offered hand - her book retained in her other one - and followed Tamara out, curious to see quite how confidently the building was navigated. That they found their way directly to the kitchen was no great surprise, but the immediate location of the ingredients she herself would have chosen does prompt a broad (and grateful) grin.

Setting her history atop the bread bin, she lightly touches Tamara’s shoulder, murmuring, “Thank you” en route to sorting bowls, spoons, and the necessary implements for heating up their breakfast. “I know you know this already,” she ventures, before looking around to smile at the seer once more, “but I am very glad to see you up and about. And moving freely.” She nods in the general direction of the bullet graze the blonde acquired in spite of Ygraine’s best efforts.

As Ygraine busies herself in the kitchen, Tamara cedes the floor, retreating to the table and perching in a chair. The brush is absently set on the table, its application to her hair still lacking. She crosses her forearms on the table, leaning lightly against it. "It's good to say," she assures the ad hoc cook. "There's listening and then there's listening. The mirror didn't mind."

It isn't very long before Tamara's on her feet again, poking her head out of the kitchen and into the living room. Stocking feet make almost no noise on the floor as she pads beyond Ygraine's view with neither word nor sign given to the Brit. Nor is it more than a couple minutes before the young woman returns, a bright red, slightly squishy rubber ball being passed idly from one hand to the other. It looks like somebody's dog toy, perhaps once lost under the furniture and now reclaimed.

With that in hand, Tamara sits herself back down, now seeming inclined to stay put a while. The mention of her injury doesn't get a direct response, but it doesn't appear to faze her any, either.

Though it takes a minor act of will, Ygraine forces herself to remain in place at the stove, determinedly pleased with Tamara’s confirmation that her words were good to speak aloud - albeit while she is also quite consciously keeping her hearing focused upon the adjacent room, trying to make out every sound she can.

When Tamara returns, Ygraine flashes a happily pleased smile… which broadens into a grin as the ball is noticed. “I wonder if I would have felt that, wherever it was hiding, had I been trying to focus on my ability more,” she muses aloud. “I didn’t come close to taxing myself in the sort of manner you did, but I’ve been a little wary of overdoing it since we got out. A little tender in the brain, even beyond my usual.”

Slim fingers dimple the ball, their owner contemplating the way the divots smooth back out as she releases pressure. She looks past it at the floor beside the chair, perhaps contemplating bouncing the thing; but whatever the thought, Tamara also seems to figuratively set it aside. Her gaze flicks up to Ygraine instead, head tilting as the seer parses the words: musings, comments, allusions.

"It's not hiding anymore!" Tamara declares, tossing the bright red orb across the room on a line squarely directed at the Brit. Never mind that she's dealing with food right now…

Every now and then, Ygraine is really quite glad that she has the reflexes of an Olympic athlete. And a slight nudge of her ability ensures that there need be no fear at all about the ball going astray: it smacks neatly into the centre of her palm, assisted over the last few inches by redirected gravity.

The Briton grins, giving the little red sphere an experimental squidge, then rippling pressure from one finger to the next, before tossing it with a flick of the wrist back to Tamara. “I think the porridge is ready now. Even without the addition of a ball to the mix,” she cheerfully announces, taking the risk of turning her back to focus upon the task of serving out a bowlful for each of them - mixing a generous spoon of raisins into each.

When it comes to playing catch, they both cheat; fortunately, the stakes are as low as they can get. Tamara's hands intercept the ball readily, plucking it out of the air and depositing it in her lap. Sitting back in her chair, the seer closes her eyes — little difference though that makes — and listens to the sounds of dishes clinking on counter, spoon scraping against pan.

The ball comes back up, dropped from both hands to bounce off the table and be promptly caught again. "Food wasn't supposed to be bouncy," Tamara points out, still not looking. Still disregarding the brush beside her place, though she'll likely get around to that eventually.

It's not like they're in any hurry, now.

Laughing, Ygraine carries the food over to the table. “I promise that my cooking’s not so bad that the porridge has turned out bouncy. Though I think I might possibly have managed that in the past. ‘Springy’, certainly. Stodgy, more than a few times.”

Setting one bowl in front of Tamara, she then settles into a chair opposite her. The smile on her lips is happy, even grateful. “It’s good to have you here,” she says after a moment’s thought - probably sufficiently aware of life beyond the mirror that she’s not just referring to physical space.

Returning the ball to her lap, Tamara makes way for the bowl to be set down, curling her fingers around its sides. She looks across the steaming porridge to Ygraine, returns her smile. "It was a nice island," she says. "Quiet. Quiet can be hard to find, even when it's needed." Layers in those words, and in something else that goes unspoken as the seer glances away from the table, to something obscured beyond building walls. Somewhere south of east, if absolute orientation is determined.

The distraction lasts only a moment, Tamara's attention returning to the present, the food in front of her, the person with her. She scoops up a spoonful of porridge, holds it above the bowl, looks at the tan grains and a single dark raisin. Decides, in the end, not to say anything else right this moment; ceding the conversational ball to Ygraine, she eats instead.

Ygraine does glance in the direction Tamara looked, frowning for a moment as she confirms orientation… and unfocusing briefly as she relates that to her non-native understanding of US geography.

Then she looks back to the seer and inclines her head. “I’m glad that you found the opportunity to rest. Though I admit that I was worried that we might not get you back, after you pushed yourself so hard. It’s… a huge relief to see that I didn’t get anything too horribly wrong while trying to look after you. But I apologise: I should be asking how much quiet you still need, or want, rather than babbling at you.”

Tamara looks up as Ygraine speaks again, casting her companion a sympathetic but distinctly lopsided smile at her worry. There is no reassurance she can give for a potential that has already resolved itself, and even less for the nebulous uncertainty of all the future ahead, so she says nothing.

That smile broadens into more sincere amusement as Ygraine continues. Her spoon is set into the bowl with a soft clink against its rim, and then Tamara scoops the ball up to bounce it across the table in Ygraine's direction — though not in such a way that there's any risk of it landing in her bowl. "Silly. Nothing out here was loud," the seer asserts.

There's quiet, and then there's quiet.

Ygraine catches the ball with absent-minded ease - and no evident cheating - even as she ducks her head once more. “Hah. Thank you.” A thoughtful, considering sort of look is sent Tamara’s way, as the Briton files away another clue as to quite how the fractured seer perceives her strands of experience.

Then she flashes the ball itself a grateful little smile, pleased with the kindness it represents in pleasantly tangible form. She revels in its squidginess for a moment, before gently bouncing it back to Tamara.

“You know… I don’t feel at all offended when you call me ‘silly’,” she muses amiably. “Thank you. It… must be so very hard, trying to find the words to make yourself understood. To say the right thing, precisely when it needs to be said. Making you smile… being considered silly… however small it is, I’m glad I can give you something.”

Clapping her hands around the ball as it bounces into range, Tamara tilts her head and contemplates the woman across from her, fingers tapping against the sides of the red orb. The moment of levity doesn't fade, but a bit of somberness is laid over it, shadow cast by the gravity of subjects underlying those words now brought to the table. "Right words," the seeress says, with an inflection that might suggest a subtly different definition to that word, "were not so hard. Expensive, maybe. But right words were on the surface; that's just reach."

Tamara falls quiet a moment, looking at the ball in her hands without seeing it, thoughtful, musing. But whatever she's trying to chase down, if the subtle shift in her expression is any indication, remain elusive. "Deeper words," she says at last. "Those were… hard. Expensive. Both."

A flick of her wrist sends the ball back across the table. In its wake, Tamara smiles at Ygraine — not the girl's cheerful, lighthearted expression but rather the quiet, confident warmth of the seer. "You gave more than you think," she replies. "The shadow that passes by is just one thing. Important," Tamara allows, nodding once, "but only a page."

Even for Ygraine, that will take some parsing. Perhaps she’s managed to repair too much of the mirror in her own mind to follow Tamara as easily as she sometimes does… but as ever, she feels that she will be able to see enough, with a little effort.

The ball thumps gently into her hand, receiving another appreciate squeeze before her own spoon tinks gently on her bowl, freeing up the other hand so that it can be held out across the table. Palm up, in invitation.

“I apologise,” she says quietly, trying to meet Tamara’s gaze, “for whatever I have done to add to your difficulties. And for the expense involved. And I am glad I have managed to give you something.” A quick, slightly brittle smile accompanies a self-conscious laugh. “I’m not at all sure what. But I’m glad, whatever it was. And if there is ever anything I can do to help, or to lessen the, ahh, the expense - then please, feel free to tell me if you can. Your choice, of course.

Even if it’s just to shut up and eat porridge.”

Meeting Ygraine's regard levelly, Tamara's initial response is to shake her head. "You didn't need to apologize," she responds, reaching out to lay her hand across the one extended. "Not for anything."

That hand stays where it is as she continues; so, too, with the seer's regard. "Nothing had to be right all the time," Tamara adds. "Most people weren't. There's space for that, too."
Sitting back, the younger woman retrieves her hand, folding both together before her half-empty bowl and casting a brighter grin across the table at her companion. "Don't worry. Just be."

There’s slight upward pressure against Tamara’s hand for as long as it remains in place - not grabbing or squeezing, just affirming and welcoming contact. A second or two after the blonde reclaims her hand, Ygraine draws her own back, picking up her spoon but not yet putting it to use.

“Just being is something I’m generally rather bad at,” Ygraine admits ruefully, though she can’t help but smile in response to that bright grin. “I’m better at coping with an adrenaline rush and the need to act than most people seem to be… but it often feels as if I spend the rest of my life desperately trying - and failing - to understand what’s going on around me. Especially people.”

The Briton shoots the supposedly-incomprehensible seer a look of wry, warm amusement. “You, I tend to find a lot easier to cope with than many ‘normal’ folk. I might simply be obliviously stupid, but I’ve never felt that you tried to mislead or manipulate me. Instead, you always seem to be helpful, kind, or both. Which… means a great deal to a crazy paranoiac.

So… though I suspect you’ll tell me that thanks are as redundant as apologies: thank you. There aren’t many people I feel able to trust. Several are here in the campsite, as it happens. But it’s always… special to be with someone who lets me feel able to lower my defences. Spending the past week and a bit worrying about you has been worth it, to have you back now.”

Tamara listens as Ygraine speaks, quiet, patient. There are many things she could say; many that she can't; many that she doesn't. Instead, she lifts her spoon from the bowl, points with it across the table at her companion. "Thanks," the younger woman reminds her with a slightly lopsided smile, "weren't… worry." That's not the best word, and she knows it — but it's the one she has to figurative hand.

Then Tamara shakes her head, slowly, with a sort of good-natured resignation. Scoops up a spoonful of porridge and occupies herself with eating it rather than playing more games with words, slippery things that they are, their nuances cut altogether too fine. "Finish your porridge," she tells the Brit with a wry grin. "Then we could go see the lake."

“You are definitely getting dressed in something warmer than pyjamas before we try that,” Ygraine admonishes with a laugh. “But I’ll follow your orders. And it is surprisingly nice out there. I’d thought that Minnesota in November would be much, much colder - and snowier than this. We’ve been lucky in the weather, at least.”

A slight pause, as she takes a spoonful of her own porridge, before fixing Tamara with a wryly quizzical look. “Unless, of course, you are getting so good that you can even arrange the weather to taste,” she teases.

The admonishment about clothing earns Ygraine a sidewise, mock-offended look; of course there will be warmer clothes involved in the outing. But Tamara doesn't protest the consideration behind those words, not even by implication.

In contrast, Ygraine's final comment gets a brief laugh, and an emphatic shake of the seer's head. "Looking wasn't touching," she reminds. "But snow wasn't for a while." Which still doesn't make it warm… but the weather could definitely be worse.

With that, Tamara sets herself to finishing her porridge — because she also knows Ygraine won't let her leave the table, otherwise!

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