rue2_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title Properly
Synopsis Ygraine and Rue make a fresh start with the help of a little wayward survivor.
Date April 16, 2011

Grand Central Terminal

With the topside of the iconic Grand Central Terminal in ruins, it's its basement level that sees most activity, as covert as such activity may be. Entrances are sealed (at least, to those who don't know any better) to the upper levels leading above ground, whether with rubble, or with manmade additions of gates and blockades, and so most will find their way to this place via the countless tunnels that run like arteries in what could appropriately be termed the heart of Manhattan's train system.

Electric lights shine pallid white in the arching ceilings of the basement concourses and foyers, running off their own generators and so power is only used conservatively. Here, the wide open spaces are used for storage that is destined to be moved either towards the arching doorways opening to platforms and subways for shipping out, or waiting to be dragged down to the subbasements for longer term storage. The floors, the walls, the ceilings are differing kinds of tile and vary in cleanliness.

Tables have also been set up so that supplies can be sorted, shifted, packed properly. Folded cardboard boxes awaiting use can be discovered in most corners. Signs on the walls in the form of crude spray paint indicate where things might go, from food, to clothing, to medical supplies, and some things even more exotic. This is a place of motion and organization.

Last but not least, a makeshift recreation room has been set up for the workers of the Grand Central Station, and this can be found within what used to be known as the Whispering Walls. Famously, this interstitial space was known for its strange acoustics, wherein one could whisper to a companion from one far side of the corner to the other by talking directing into the curving corner, where sound would travel along the curve of the arcing ceiling. This, of course, still works, but now the space is no longer simply a foyer - there's a semi-portable kitchen area offering simple food and beverages, a television (which gets no reception, but is hooked into a VCR and a DVD player, with a modest library for both), a card table, a few comforts such as couches and armchairs.

Upon one of the walls, is a rough but well-meaning mural, a mock up of an aquarium - an addition that came after the Ferrymen claimed this space as theirs. It seems to grow in size every several days, with new aquatic characters added each time.

With two of her little hand-powered light sources providing twin puddles of illumination around her, a dark-clad figure sits in one of the Grand Central base's side-rooms. Cross-legged, she is surrounded by bits of paper, a ringbound notebook open in one hand. Beside her, amidst the scatter of notes and inter-connected bubbles of words, a half-eaten but now forgotten energy bar rests atop its shiny wrapper, while the buds of an mp3 player are tucked into her ears to provide a shell of distraction from the outside world.

Not that it looks as if her thoughts are exactly proceeding smoothly along easy paths of progress. Her pensive frown is directed into the middle distance, a pencil waggled absent-mindedly in the air by her other digits, while her lower lip is being thoughtfully chewed upon.

Ygraine's sanctum has an intruder. Even if she didn't have headphones and music to distract her, it's doubtful she'd hear Selina enter the room. She's quiet, as stalkers are wont to be, bright eyes wide and alert as she approaches the scattered and lowers herself down to sniff at them, and the energy bar.

A glance is sent up to Ygraine, looking to ensure that she hasn't been spotted before she goes for an experimental nibble.

It does indeed take Ygraine a few moments to realise that anything might be amiss - and then only when she ceases her pencil-twiddling and moves a hand over towards her lunch. Her frown deepens, as something feels off - then she looks around sharply to determine quite what it is that is impinging upon her sense of things, short-range as it is. "What the-? Hey! Where on Earth did you come from! And gerroff!"

Where most cats may take off like a shot, Selina tangles up in her kitten-y limbs and falls on her white belly, papers having shifted beneath her in her attempt to get away. She gives a vaguely guilty look up to the woman whose lunch she was just about to steal. Who could be mad at a face like that?

Getting back up on her tiny paws, she scampers further into the room, but away from Ygraine. Selina peers out at her cautiously from just beyond one of the pools of light that makes her curious eyes seem to glow supernaturally.

Ygraine blinkies at the little furballed klutz for a few moments, then lets out a slightly shaky laugh, shaking her head as she silences her music. Removing the earbuds, she tucks them away within her jacket, then picks up the bar. Breaking off the very end, she waggles it at the little kitten. "C'mon, doofus. Since it turns out you're not a rat, I won't hold your foraging against you."

Selina sits there for a few moments, still a little too spooked to move. But… There's food. And kittens do like food. This one is no exception. Slowly, she makes her way forward, focused on the morsel offered out to her which she sniff-sniff-sniffs at as though she hadn't already done that earlier. Like this somehow might be something different, from a different source. Can it be trusted? Will it be tasty? She licks once, twice, and then takes a tiny little bite.

"Selina!" Trying not to shout and raise too much fuss, but still draw the attention of the small cat, Rue is frantically racing through the Terminal calling her name. "Selinaaaa! Has anybody seen a kitten around here? She's black with white on her face and- No?" Rue's footsteps rush past where Ygraine's seeking solitude, a quite aaaaaaa! following in her wake. "Benji's gonna kill me!"

A low laugh emerges from Ygraine's den, though she spares the entrance barely a glance, instead watching the little furball. "She's in here", she calls out, though she keeps her voice quite quiet to avoid spooking the creature in question.

The footfalls grow quieter as Rue gets further away, but then rise in volume once more as she apparently turns around to head back the way she came once Ygraine's words register. She scurries into the little den and heaves a sigh of relief upon seeing the kitten. "Selina! There you are!"

Selina abandons her quest for food when Rue's tall, familiar shape appears. She's quick to pad over and start walking haphazard little figure eights around the girl's legs, rubbing her face against her ankles. This is my girl. There are many others like her, but this one is mine.

"You silly thing," Rue reprimands softly, finally squatting down to lift the tuxedo, cradling her in one arm. "I just fed you, you little glutton. I turn my back for one second to give you some milk, and you go scampering off like you own the place. I swear I'm going to tell your dad."

Kitten's nose receives a tap and Rue finally looks up from her little conversation and blushes, faintly embarrassed by her moment. "Thanks for finding her," she offers. Even if it was Selina that did the finding.

Laughing, Ygraine shakes her head, smiling up at Rue. "Apparently, energy bars are approved of. I have no idea how bad they might be for her, so I apologise if she really shouldn't have any. But… if the pair of you would care to join me, feel free. A break from trying to piece together a map of my explorations would frankly be welcome."

"You're going to vomit the whole boat ride home, aren't you?" Rue asks rhetorically of Selina. "I'm holding you over the side of the deck and you can puke into the Hudson like the rest of us." Not that she's ever done that, of course.

To Ygraine's request, Rue nods her head. "Sure. If it'll help you destress some." She steps around the papers and notes to have a seat not far from Ygraine, sitting cross-legged and with the kitten settled on her lap. That tiny claws start to knead into denim-clad thighs causes a small wince, but Rue doesn't impede Selina's quest to get comfortable.

A low chuckle, and Ygraine again finds herself shaking her head at Selina. "Selfish little beasts, aren't they?", she asks with a smile. "Always preferred dogs, myself, but she is adorably cute, that one. An unusual travelling-companion, however. Did you pick her up here?"

"No," Rue answers with a shake of her head. "My friend Benji found her somewhere, and brought her to the island. Because I'm not currently wanted by the authorities, I'm her little benefactor. I brought her over for a vet check."

There's a soft mewl as if the little thing knows what's being talked about. Almost an indignant little squeak as Selina angles her head upward to blink at Rue. "Yes, I know," says the one that can actually talk (hint: it's not the feline), "you don't like those booster shots or the where the theremometer needs to go, do you? I don't blame you. Nuh-uh!"

Raising a brow, Ygraine grins at both Selina and Rue. "Mmmmm. I've had needles and thermometers shoved in a few places over the years. I can sympathise with that, at least…."

Shaking her head as if to clear it, she chuckles and focuses firmly upon the redhead rather than the kitten. "So… I'd been hoping to catch you after the last time I saw you, but… you disappeared quite quickly. Did everything go all right with the pastor?"

Rue looks a touch sheepish, shrugging her shoulders. "As well as could be expected, I think. Considering we're on opposite sides of the debate. I felt bad for disagreeing with him more than anything." Fingers brushing over Selina's fur give her something to do other than fidget. "Nothing's wrong. Pastor Sumter and I won't be avoiding each other or anything."

"Not that I really have any idea of what the debate might be about", Ygraine says dryly, though there's some amusement in her eyes. "But… well. I mostly just wanted to thank you. I… I honestly thought that I'd offended you horribly, when first we met. You… I seemed to have upset you badly. And I felt so guilty for that."

"You didn't upset me," Rue clarifies quickly, nose wrinkling just a bit. "Quinnie just kind of… blindsided me. She didn't tell me what was going on with… Well, it doesn't matter now." Or rather, it doesn't matter now, emphasis on the relative timing.

Dropping her gaze, Ygraine inhales slowly, then musters a weak little chuckle. "Sorry. I didn't mean to stir up bad memories. But…." Peeping up, she quirks a lop-sided smile. "Are you the only person who calls her Quinnie?"

Rue looks down at where she's petting Selina, but she isn't ready with an easy smile now. "As far as I know, I'm the only one. I'm just kind of that way. I like nicknames. I think I get it from my aunt. She calls me Rooster."

Ygraine nods gently. "I'm… not trying to cause problems, I promise. Was just… well. So far as I know, I'm the only person to call her Robyn. Apart from her mother. Which I should probably have taken as some kind of a hint, perhaps. But…" She closes her eyes, sighing. "Sorry. Probably a horribly clumsy effort to find common ground. 'Discarded exes who have their own names for her'. Great thing to bond over, eh?"

Selina attempts to wriggle her way out of Rue's lap, but instead she's lifted to be cuddled against the girl's chest. "Ohhh no you don't," Rue murmurs. "Fool me once." Blue eyes lift again to Ygraine and she shrugs. "I think there are much better things we could bond over than our ex-girlfriend. I mean… We're both Ferrymen. Uhm…"

Another laugh, and Ygraine flashes a swift and rather rueful grin. "And we both still adore the same woman, I think", she ventures gently. "Though I apologise if I'm reading more into things than is there for you. But… I'd like a friend, even if I've no idea how to go about making you one. Not just a…. a comrade in arms, whom I nod to and around whom I avoid mentioning Miss Robyn Quinnie, lest doing so stirs up too many memories."

"It doesn't matter if I have feelings for her or not," is a touch defensive. Because Ygraine's not wrong. Rue certainly does still have feelings for her last girlfriend. "That shouldn't be a basis for a friendship. It's not like I'm keen to unite with someone and whine about what I've lost." She purses her lopsided lips, a faint pout.

Ygraine winces, shrinking into herself a little. "That's… not exactly what I meant. Honestly. That'd be a decent basis for dealing with a therapist, not a friend. And I've probably bent too many ears about what was done to me, as it is. I'm…."

Closing her eyes for a moment, she makes vague, frustrated gestures in the air. "I'm hopeless at this. That's about all I can say with certainty. I just…" Another wave of her notebook. "Maybe I should stick to trying to map the underworld. Putting my foot in things that way at least only causes me problems."

"I'm fine with getting to know you, Yggy," Rue tells her formal rival, "I just… don't want us to use Quinnie as a point of reference. Or 'Lainey." She wasn't kidding about the nicknames. "And withdrawing from everything isn't going to make you feel better. It's only going to make you even more bitter. You'll push people away, and get upset when they don't reach out to you. I'm just… speaking from experience here." She may have had an invisible friend to talk her through those darker times, but she was still alone.

Ygraine lets loose a short burst of rather blackly amused laughter. "I'm a paranoiac depressive. Bitterness, I do rather well. Though I mostly turn it on myself, to pull apart everything I thought I believed or trusted. That's… that's partly why I'm determined to try to make new friends. And why I'm blundering so horribly at it. But… I'm trying to fight the fear and anger by reaching out. And… well."

A deep breath, then a somewhat wobbly smile. "I… used to trust Robyn's judgement near-enough implicitly. Save for where it came to her own life. And she thought you were special. So you probably are. And I'd like to know someone special. Does… does that make sense as a starting-point?"

Rue looks a little uncertain at explanation of what plagues Ygraine, but she doesn't look judgemental. She doesn't withdraw or retreat. Instead, she offers a small smile, "Sure. That sounds like a good starting point to me." Selina mews questioningly, and her caretaker dips her head down so she can nuzzle the tip of her nose against the top of the kitten's head.

A momentary pause, then Ygraine sets down the still-clutched bit of energy bar, then offers her hand to Rue. "Hi. It's good to meet you properly. Rather than through someone else, for us both to be awkward around."

Kitten shifted carefully, Rue takes the offered hand and shakes. A smile brightens up her freckled face. "You, too. Hopefully things will be better this time around, yeah?"

Ygraine shakes firmly, holding on for a moment longer than mere decorum would dictate. "I hope so, too", she assures Rue, accompanying her words with a lop-sided smile. "So…. Would you be terribly offended if I admitted that I knew almost nothing about you? Am I right in thinking that you've done modelling…?"

"I wouldn't expect you to know a lot about me. I… don't know a whole lot about you either," Rue admits. "And yeah, I did model. I mean, I do model, when I can get jobs. I haven't really… gotten any lately. …My parents have been paying for my apartment. I'd just move out, but I like having some place to go in the city where I can have my own space.

"What about you?"

Cocking her head, Ygraine smilingly considers Rue for a few moments, then cracks a grin. "You're certainly distinctive, to my eye. I could see you succeeding as a model. And me? Heh. I'm a washed-up former athlete. I used to compete professionally, as a cyclist. In between, I made my living as a translator. I grew up bilingual, so it's not exactly something I had to work at very hard in most ways. But my second degree was in international relations, particularly conflict theory, and I was looking at trying to get into that whenever my riding career ended…."

That's a lot of information. Rue doesn't have a bilingual upbringing, or a college education to talk about. She has high school, but a GED to show for it. She picks a detail, though, and she latches onto it. "What's conflict theory?"

"I… well." Ygraine purses her lips, finally setting down her notebook amidst all the other papers. "There're a lot of theories on how people come to be in disputes, how they respond once they are, and so on. And there're also theories on how states and organisations respond when threats are perceived, how they go about fighting conflicts, how they change internally and how their interactions with others also change. I… basically, I studied how systems and structures of communication and interaction go wrong, how the people involved change their behaviour and how they analyse and judge the world and people in it, and how you can try to counter-act those changes."

Rather sheepishly, the Briton shrugs. "I wanted to make the world a better place. Or at least find out if I could learn how to do so."

"That sounds really complicated." Rue pulls a bit of a face. "I'm not much for book smarts. I mean, if I was I wouldn't be a model, right? I'm starting to wish I'd focused on ballet like my BFF Sami, though. At least I could be part of a company, instead of having to be someone who stands out of the crowd. Not that I wouldn't aspire to be a prima ballerina or anything." She smiles, "I'd like to be the best, but I'd have settled for just doing what I love. I've never been as good at dancing as Sami wa- is." I-zuh! "I think I'm too tall for it. Most ballerinas are much shorter than I am. And I swear they all look alike."

A laugh, and a shake of her head from Ygraine. "It's… I'm good at analysing things. Taking things apart in my mind and seeing how they fit together… that's always come more easily for me than, well. Than interacting with people in a normal fashion. But… my last job - very brief though it was - was as personal assistant to the choreographer for American Ballet Theatre. Held it for all of two weeks, before I wound up on the run. Remi's an inch shorter than me, so… a good four inches or so below you, at a guess? But I don't know what the top end of the height range might be. But I can certainly sympathise with wanting to have done something actively artistic with your life. My primary career involved wearing Spandex while riding round and round a track, or rattling along deserted roads as fast as I could go. I loved the competition, but what was I really achieving?"

"That's why I'm here!" Rue brightens up a bit, despite that the situation they're in (they the Ferrymen) is rather dark. "Because I couldn't just go back to… wasting my life hoping to be the next cover of Vogue when I could be here, and helping people." See? We have more in common than we thought! "I should probably try to find a job, though. Or my parents are going to start wondering… And if they call my aunt to check up on me-" The girl blanches, looking vaguely ill at the notion.

Ygraine's smile fades in response to Rue's final expression, her head cocking worriedly. One hand tentatively extends towards the other woman. "Is… is there a problem of some sort with your aunt?", she asks cautiously, gaze searching Rue's face.

Rue's eyes go a little wide and she forces another smile, in tandem with a quick an definitive shake of her head. "No! No, nothing. I just don't want her to be worried about me, is all. I don't need her thinking that I'm in trouble or anything."

Ygraine nods quickly, though it takes a second or two for her to dispel her look of concern and find a smile of her own. "In any case… I'm here, on this continent, to try to help too. And to fight my own demons. But… I could be at home in the UK, if I wanted an easier life. I… felt that I could do more here. I wanted to keep as much of a 'normal' life as I could, but… I figured that it was worth the risk, in return for actually helping if I possibly could."

Rue gives a look down to Selina, who peers back up at her and meows softly in question. "I think," the girl says quietly, "I should be getting a move on. I need to get to the docks before too long so I can get us both home. I have a cell phone, if you want the number? I know a lot of us don't carry them anymore, but… just in case?"

"I've had to ditch my old ones, but I've still got a supply of burn phones. I can certainly give you a couple of those numbers, if you'd like to be able to get hold of me", Ygraine responds quickly, nodding her acceptance of Rue's offer. "And… thank you. Again. If… if there's ever anything a spelunking wall-crawler can do for you, do let me know."

"Sure thing." Rue leans over to pluck up the discarded writing utensil and scrawl her number on a corner of notebook paper. "Don't worry about giving me a number. I answer no matter who calls, so I won't screen you out if you come up blocked or unknown or anything." Finally she pushes to her feet, a shy smile on her face, and maybe just a touch of pink to her cheeks - though it's difficult to tell in this light. "It was nice to see you again. I'll see you around?"

"I'll give you a call so that you have a number to contact me by, if you ever want me for something", Ygraine assures Rue, before pushing herself to her feet, and reaching out to gently ruffle Selina's ears. "It was good to properly meet both of you."

Ygraine's affection is rewarded with a nudge from Selina's head and a wider smile from Rue. "Be safe, Yggy Pop," she offers in parting before heading out to the main of the terminal again. A quiet sigh escapes her lips before she addresses the kitten in her arms, "I guess you running off wasn't so bad, but don't get any ideas."

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