colette_icon.gif eimi_icon.gif

Scene Title Reflection/Projection
Synopsis In the aftermath of reuniting Hailey and Jim, Colette resolves to ensure that Eimi's youth doesn't wind up like her own.
Date March 2nd, 2018


Yellow rubber gloves snap on. A pair of paper masks, pulled on by elastic bands. Aerosol spray cans. A sloshing bucket full of iridescent bubbles of soap. A pair of mops. A stack of towels. A battered old iPod from a decade ago, and a set of portable speakers, music. A hand clasped on a shoulder, blind eyes to hazel. One brow raised.

Slow heart, dark weight

Down love, black canvas

Revolve within, you understand

“…Joined the Ferrymen before I was eighteen. Started by running supplies for them, I had a job at a courier in Manhattan at a place called Alleycat. Ferry ran it, secretly.” Soapy mop water spread across the kitchen floor, cleaning up splotches of half-eaten banana and dirty monkey paw-prints. “Before that, I was just an orphan. Lived in a refugee shelter from the bomb, didn’t really have anyone.”

Fragile earthware cracks in

The temperature

Keep it cool to give, you understand

Keep it cool to give, you understand

On a stepstool, hands clasp at crumpled clothes tossed in disarray by tiny monkey hands. Thrown down into a waiting black trash bag to be laundered more sufficiently. “I met Tamara around then. Never known anyone like her in my life. Sees the future, saw our future I think. What it could possibly be.” Off the step stool, spray can out, coating surfaces and wiping down what’s exposed. “Never thought I could love anyone as much as I love her. Turns out I was wrong twice.”

Slow heart, dark weight

Down love, black canvas

Revolve within, you understand

Bare feet on clean floors, towels scrubbing damp surfaces, polishing hardwood and tile to a faint mirror sheen. Dark hair swept back away from blind eyes, sweat beading on the brow. “This tattoo,” a watercolor fox over a puckered scar, “took a bullet for Tasha when we first met. She nursed me back to health. That was the second time I was wrong about how much I could love someone.” A smile. “I own my mistakes.” Eventually.

Fragile earthware cracks in

The temperature

Keep it cool to give, you understand

Wet clothes are tossed by the handful into a dryer, door slammed shut and clicked to tumble. Another set of dry clothes to be cleaned deposited into the washing machine. “Joe, Lance, Hailey, yeah…” An earnest smile. “There were more of us back then, and I was the oldest of them. Bunch of little shits, always getting into trouble. Brian looked after us all. Lance ever tell you about the time I learned that I could make a laser?” Blind eyes glimmer with mischief. “Scary story, but a good one.”

Cause I just can't find the strength

To pull you up and keep you taut

No, I just can't find the strength

To haul you up and keep you taut

High backed chairs and polished countertops, a clean table, ceramic plates, and sandwiches. Coffee percolating in the periphery, apple slices and peanut butter. A few protein bars for the road, tucked into pockets. “My dad was an NYPD homicide detective, adopted me right off the street. Judah.” Distant eyes. “Greatest man I’ve ever known, kindest too. He cared about me so much.” Eyes away, distant. “Can’t always save everyone…”

Hijacked, lost track

Light fades, another day lapsed

Long shadows lure you in

The roar of a vacuum sweeping across the floor. Stopping, alighting its back, extended nozzle sweeping out pests stunned by caustic spray. The noise too great for conversation, so the time is spent in other ways, using the vacuum as a dance partner, trading off with a bubble of laughter for a mop. The pair switching dance partners, cleaning through the foyer, making sure not a corner is missed.

The more you look, the less you see

So close your eyes, and start to breathe

Oh, you said yourself:

"This wasn't easy"

Mmm, you said yourself:

"This wasn't easy"

“This one?” A forest of birds scattering to the wind wrapped around a forearm. “Eileen. She was a mentor to me, only reason I ever got anywhere in the Ferrymen. She believed in me.” Hunched over a tub, rubber gloves and bleach, scrubbing pads and washcloths, water running. “She could talk to birds… be inside their minds. Like Hailey with animals, but different. It was hard to tell where the birds ended and Eileen began. I cared about her, a lot.” The scrubbing stops. “She died.”

Oh, I just can't find the strength

To pull you up and keep you taut

No, I just can't find the strength

To haul you up and keep you taut

Rags thrown into a bucket, gloves pulled off with a rubbery snap, mops leaned up against a basement wall, vacuum cleaner put back into the storage space it calls home. “Means a lot that you’d stick around, help clean up.” Paper mask pulled off, thrown into the garbage with exhausted aerosol cans. “You’re a good kid. Better than you might give yourself credit for.”

Cause I just can't find the strength

To keep you taut

Colette’s blind eyes fix on Eimi after they come up the stairs from the basement, one corner of her mouth crooked into a smile. “You got any plans for the rest of the day?” Colette’s are most assuredly shot. “Because there’s something I could show you that you might appreciate.” That she wouldn’t mind the company goes without saying.

Eimi is, when she puts her mind to it, a hard worker. Although the teleporting short distances to cross rooms more easily might take some getting used to being around. Particularly stairs. There is the brief displacement of air as Eimi reappears, not enough to ruffle papers or move anything.

"I mean, I… brought the monkey here," the words are flat, quiet, not nearly as detached as the morning's shock. "Helping is… the least I can do."

Eimi's brows dip sharply, and there's a question posed. "The other woman, Gillian… do you trust her?" Then Eimi shakes her head, that set aside for the time being. There's been cogs silently ticking away in the younger woman's head, a background level preoccupation in the quiet moments. "Getting some of the stuff I've got stashed places, maybe. But I can do that whenever." There have even been brief smiles, laughter while they clean, as the teenager relaxes a little more. "No one else can get to it… I don't use buildings which still have stairs." In other words, "Sure."

“I’ve known Gillian since I was pretty young,” Colette admits as she walks over to the space by the front door in the foyer, sitting down on a small bench there and pulling on her boots. Apparently she’ll need them for whatever she’s going to show Eimi. “She’s on the short list of people I’d trust my life to. Ain’t many other people as selfless as her, or people who’ve had to endure the shit she has. An’ I know I only heard part of it all.” Zipping up the side of her boots, Colette stands up and grabs a leather jacket off the door.

“C’mon, we’re gonna go outside.” One hand reaches for the doorknob, opening the front door to the street. Colette doesn’t comment on how and where Eimi stashes things, but there’s the subtlest crack of a smile at the corner of her mouth that implies she finds her choices clever.

The leather jacket is picked up from where it's been — it got thoroughly cleaned as well, as best as Eimi was able, though the teenager was less worried about herself — and shrugged on, pulled around her shoulders. "I'm… considering trying to…" Eimi pauses. She chooses her words carefully, years of disuse meaning that conversation is a skill that returns slowly. "Trying to do things the right way," is the phrasing that she comes up with, and it's evident that Eimi's aware that it's probably something that she won't be able to do on her own.

"But people say they'll help and then…" It trails off, speaking of past disappointments, that familiar wariness. "But maybe…" Maybe this time will be different. After all, she's stuck around so far this afternoon.

A moment later and she follows after Colette, out the front door and reappearing at the bottom of the stairs to wait for her to get there.

Grinning broadly from ear to ear, Colette comes out of the apartment and shuts the door behind herself, sure to lock it. She doesn't press Eimi on the notion of doing the right thing. On her way down the steps, she tucks her hands into the pockets of her jacket and starts off down the sidewalk. “So,” Colette looks askance at Eimi. “Where’re you from? I mean… originally.”

Not one to pry without offering in return, Colette answers for herself. “Born and raised in Boston myself, shit place and shit bio-parents. Haven't ever been back since my sister took me in when I was… younger than you.” Looking back to Eimi, Colette raises one brow inquisitively.

Eimi scrunches up her brow at the question of where she's from, but it's answered with, "Utah," she followed with, "but that was a long time ago." Eimi keeps up, for the most part just walking although every so often there's a few feet where the girl just teleports instead. "We left Utah, and got to Kansas City eventually."

There's some thought, and then Eimi continues. "I left Kansas City, though." Why isn't mentioned. "A while ago." Notions of time, such as they are, are tricky when you don't have much interaction with other people. "There… my parents were okay most of the time. But they." Another furrow of brow and she shakes her head. "I manifested," she explains, "and they died." It's said as two separate statements, but also clear that the teenager links the two events in her mind. Even if they happened in the opposite order.

"Can't really go much more east without falling into the ocean, so… I…. I've kinda. Run out of places to run." Colette gets a small smile, then, as they continue.

Colette falters, pace slowing down a bit. She looks over at Eimi, lifts a hand to her shoulder, and just gives it a squeeze. She the effort of the contact to the teen as well, vestigial as it is. “M’sorry…” she says in a quiet voice as she lets the hand fall away, and the relaxed walking pace pick back up.

“I was in Utah during the war,” Colette moves away from the topic of Eimi’s parents. “I’d just started operations with Wolfhound. The EMP happened, my CO was killed, and I had to lead everyone back east on foot. Mostly on foot.” Hands tucked back into her pockets, she shrugs. “Wound up in Colorado for the rest of the war, protecting civilians.”

“I would've given anything t’have someone like you out there,” Colette admits with a lopsided smile. “The way you use your ability so effortlessly is fucking inspiring. How many people can you take with you at once?”

"Two," Eimi answers, followed by an, "I think. I've never really tried to take more." She shakes her head. "I had to learn how not to teleport as much as anything else, I think," she continues. There's so much of her ability that is instinctual that figuring out the answers to these sorts of things takes the teenager some time. "The first few days afterwards, I'd end up anywhere I looked at too hard."

Another pause, and she adds, flushing red a little bit as she does so, "And the first few times I uh. I teleported me, but not my clothing. Lucky the park had a donation bin, so there was clothes there, but."

One hand up to her mouth, Colette snorts a laugh and stumbles forward a few steps. When she wheels around she's looking at Eimi with an enormous smile and barely restrained laughter. “Oh my god,” she flutters the words out on lilting giggles. “Eimi, that's— well, for both our sakes I'm glad you got that under control.”

Shaking her head and laughing softly to herself, Colette takes the fingers of one hand through her hair. “We’re not far now,” Colette says, teeth toying at her lower lip before she bubbles up with another snort of laughter. They hadn't walked far, maybe two sets of brownstones down the street. There's a deli up on the corner, and an alley between it and the last brownstone. Colette motions to the alley mouth.

“If you're interested,” Colette offers as an aside, “I'd be more than willing to spend one day a month offering you lessons. Uh, unofficially. I don't have an instructor’s license, but you wouldn't be the first person I've mentored.” They're nearly at the alley now.

"I wonder what happened to my old clothes," Eimi muses, grinning although her brows furrow again. The rest of that memory is not happy. "There wasn't anyone there that time. But I was…" she pauses, follows after, "I've done it a few times since then, all by accident. But I can teleport out of handcuffs if I don't mind leaving my clothes behind."

There's a nod and a grin in response to the offer. "I'd like that," she says. "I mean a lot of it's been just guessing. Once I'd teleported away from Kansas City, I didn't want to go back. I just made it up as I go." She adds, "I'm only even here unofficially so I mean. That's okay." Pause. "Their fence really sucks."

“It's an honesty fence,” Colette jokingly notes. Though as she stops at the alley, she turns and crosses her arms over her chest. “In time I could probably teach you how to teleport specific things easier. Maybe even stuff off of you and to somewhere or someone else, depending on how your ability works. I'm— honestly not sure, but that's what exploration is for.”

That said, Colette steps in front of the alley where steam is issuing out of a sewer grate. “I'm gonna show you something today under one condition. It's for you, and only you, ok? Not Joe, not Lance, I don't want anybody else back here except you.” Dark brows lift, and Colette squares her blind eyes on Eimi. “You promise me that, and we go in.”

A few nods as Eimi listens, and the last bit gets a slight tilt of her head. Consideration, which lasts a solid minute of silence before Eimi nods her agreement. "Alright," she says, and then she continues, "I promise."

A half a beat of time passes and Eimi repeats, much more quietly, "Promise." She watches Colette for a moment, searching, trying to see what it is that continues to make her put her trust in the woman, that bit of kindred spirit, and a faint smile forms along with one more nod, once more repeated, "Promise."

The ghost of a smile flits across Colette’s face at Eimi’s reaction, and she ducks her head just a bit to hide it. As she rounds the corner into the alley, past the thin stream of steam, there’s something blocking the end of the alley from cutting out to the adjacent street. It’s a small white building, maybe fifteen feet across and a single story tall with a tar-paper covered roof. The building only has one point of entry, a garage door with a chain and padlock on it. The top of the garage door has four grimy looking windows on it that afford a muted look to the inside.

This,” Colette gestures to the small, white-walled building and its peeling paint. “Is what I affectionately like to call the Dog House.” She turns, walking backwards in scuffing strides down the alley. “Back in the day, when I was with the Ferrymen, we used to have to code name all our safe houses. This— isn’t really a safe house, but the tradition fits.” As she approaches the door, Colette takes a knee and withdraws a key from inside of her jacket. “I bought it from the city, they were going to tear it down. But I needed a place…” the key clicks in the lock, chain coming unwound off the door, “to store…”

This.” Colette stands, hoisting the door over her head to reveal that the building is far longer than it is wide, nearly thirty feet. Inside the garage is a forest green and chrome motorcycle. There’s also a makeshift couch made from the rear bench seat of an old truck, complete with seatbelts. Boxes of tools are up against the far wall, along with an engine block lift, welding goggles, a peg board hanging with other old and salvaged tools. There’s also a wreath of dried flowers, like from Tamara or Tasha.

Turning around once the door’s open, Colette dusts off her hands and takes a step aside. “My home away from home, where I work on my little treasure here. There’s a radio, mini fridge under the table — empty, uh, presently — and that shitty old sink back there actually does work. Sometimes the water comes out brown, but you just have to let it run.” Still rubbing grit from the door off of her hands, Colette tilts her head to the side and looks at Eimi. “I won’t give you a key, but you don’t need one.” The remaining implication is there.

The motorcycle is stared at for a moment, before Eimi's gaze shifts to taking in the rest of the small building, and then back to Colette, and she nods. Walls aren't much of an obstacle to the teleporter if there are windows. She says, quietly, "Thanks. I… I appreciate it." It's on that makeshift couch that Eimi sits, after a moment, pulling her knees to her chest and resting her chin on her folded arms. She's still tired from the morning, tired from being vulnerable in front of people, but she's trying not to let it show, as much.

So instead of saying anything, she sits there for a bit, and then adds, "Thanks for helping me get Jim back to Hailey." The level of sheer coincidence that made that work is not something that the teenager realises, and instead she says, "Sometimes I find tools when I'm in the ruins. I left them be, but I could bring some of them here if they might be useful." She doesn't know anything about tools, glances at the windows on the garage door again idly.

Stepping inside, Colette gently pulls the garage door down from the inside. The place smells faintly of oil and metal, leather and grease. Booted feet carry Colette over to the makeshift couch, and she slowly settles down on it beside Eimi. The old leather creaks against her weight and Colette pulls up one knee, drawing an arm over it while her other leg stays straight out.

“I've got tools,” Colette says quietly, eventually coming to rest her chin on the back of her knee. “This isn't something that needs repaying. Same with the monkey.” Which is a sentence she'd never thought she'd ever say. “Hailey’s basically family, and family takes care of each other.”

Breathing out a slow sigh, Colette looks over at Eimi. “Figured you might like to have a place to hide away. Somewhere safe, if you ever need to crash or just get away from everyone. I'm hardly ever here. And nobody’s going to come bother you if you don't want to be… but my place is right down the street, if you need someone.”

There's a faint smile from Colette after that, hopeful and small. “Thanks for taking care of Hailey. She's always been a huge pain in the ass,” is said tenderly, “and the fact that she trusts you means you're a good person. You can crash here whenever. There's a thermal blanket in the chest under the pegboard. No pillow though.” She smirks, can't be perfect.

There's a soft huff, and Eimi chuckles a bit and allows silence as Colette's words sink in. A nod. "Thank you," she repeats. "I hope you're right. I hope she's right." It's quiet, not particularly to Colette until Eimi says, "I… might stay inside the zone a bit more for a little aside from grabbing my stuff." She pauses, and continues, "Not that I've got much."

"There's a lot of… I've met a lot of people since I've been here. And I like them, but…" She grins. "Lance and Joe can be a little overwhelming. Coming here, the only time I saw other people was if I… got caught. So that was never good."

Her eyes flick to the windows in the garage door, and as an aside she asks, "Can I clean the edge of a window a bit?" Not much, but enough to afford a clearer view to the alley. "I accidentally teleported into uh… the haircut shop, Raquelle? And Joe was there, and Brynn, and Joe pretty much decided we were friends just about like that. It was…" Not that Eimi is complaining. She finishes with, "I'm not sure I really know how to have… friends."

Colette looks away for a moment, sweeping a thumb under one of her eyes before looking back to Eimi. “I get that,” isn't just a platitude. “I really, really do. And Eimi, as long as you aren't bringing anyone around you can do whatever you like here.” There's a moment where Colette looks into her lap, again touching at one of her eyes before smiling and looking back to Eimi.

“Goddamnit,” Colette says softly and without any heat. She sniffs, faintly, presses a thumb to the corner of one of her blind eyes. “You're the exact age I was when I got into the Ferrymen. An’ I'm — I think the same age Grace,” whoever that is, “was when she gave me a chance.” Laughing, Colette straightens her leg and sits forward.

“Sorry I— You shake me sometimes.” Colette swallows awkwardly, letting out another little exasperated laugh. “I can see a lot of me in you, just— everywhere. M’sorry if I fuckin’ weird you out a bit. I just— remember all the shit I used to say, used to feel, and I see it here.” She smiles again, a little emotionally, and looks across the garage so as to try and recenter herself.

“Friends are fucking important, and— I'll gladly be yours.”

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