colette_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif

Scene Title Similarities
Synopsis Huruma and Colette discover some.
Date April 17, 2018


Williamsburg is one of the nicer neighborhoods in the Safe Zone. Though for all its repair and presence, there are still corners of it not far from the brilliant’s manicured brownstones where not everything is just so. Just one building down onto South 4th Street, there is a narrow alleyway where steam rises up from drainage grates on cooler evenings like today. Few cars are parked on the side of the road, and foot traffic here is sparse. The convenience store that sits on the corner of the street hasn’t been open for seven years. And yet, there’s music in the air.

Hey, ho, who is this?

No one but me, my dear.

Down that narrow alley is a single story white building with paint peeling off its face and a tarpaper-covered roof. The buildings on either side block it in and overshadow it by two stories each. In the early evening light, it is drowned in shadow. But the single garage door on this small building wedged in the alley is wide open, and string lights are hung from the base of the door, shedding a twinkling golden glow through the steam.

Please come… say “How do.” The things, I’ll give to you.

A stroke as gentle as a feather

Inside the garage, there’s a desk lamp turned on, pointed at a green-bodied motorcycle, casting its shadow long across the otherwise dark alley. Sitting cross-legged on the ground, the familiar silhouette of Colette Demsky has tools spread out around her, the sleeves of her ratty black hooded sweatshirt rolled up to her elbows and just as much of her arms smudged in grease. The rapid clicking sound of a torque wrench follows a rhythm in the song as she tightens nuts on the front tire.

Hey, oh. I am here.

Am I not young and fair?

Beside Colette, a small battery-powered stereo blasts the music coming from an old CD with just a little stutter to it. She is contented, working on the familiar motorcycle. The garage around her has the torn out rear bench seat of an old automobile pushed into a corner for use as a sofa, a thermal blanket thrown over it. Other tools hang on a pegboard on the walls, along with hubcaps, license plates, and other ephemera.

Please, come…say "How do."

The things I’ll show to you…

The best way to learn your way around is to just go. Huruma is a sight enough where she stays and the places she visits— for now, those seem to be the homes of others. Of late she has taken to exploring more, all while getting her licks in. She keeps her field on the tight side as she goes for a run; there are too many heads to pass by to keep it loose. It gives an extra edge of concentration to her trek, but it does not dry her well of senses out. That is why she starts down the mouth of a sidestreet, circling in on Colette’s mind like a great carrion bird.

Huruma comes to a jogging halt outside of the open door of the garage, clad in a thin hooded sweatshirt and tank top, the zipper open to cooler air. Running shoes of the hardier variety grind up on asphalt. Two-tone leggings have a lovely pattern of bricks from calf to tailbone, a bit of spunk to an otherwise normal look. She’s worked up a faint sheen against skin, and when she finds Colette ahead of her the smile is a little feral for the mood, voice holding a lingering breathlessness.

“So this is where you hide.”

Huruma’s emergence through the steam and down the alley brings a look up from Colette. She lets out a small noise of surprise, their reflexively reaches out and turns down the volume of the radio from blaringly loud to subtler. There's surprise painted on her face, a look behind Huruma to see if she's with Hana and if this is some emergency. She isn't, it isn't.

Relaxing, then, Colette sets down her wrench and drops her hands into her lap. “Guilty as charged,” she admits with a wry smile. “I— I'm gonna’ admit, I didn't expect to see anyone out here other than a friend who crashes here from time to time. Did…” one of Colette’s brows raise as she pushes herself up to her feet. “Did anybody tell you about this? Or is it just another weird coincidence in my life?”

Nothing behind her, nothing up her sleeves, nothing but her head under the hood that she knocks back. Huruma does glance over her shoulder, curious, before deciding it’s Colette’s paranoia, not her own.

“Nobody gave you up. Good for you, that…” Huruma lifts her chin in a low laugh, stepping in closer and ducking in the open garage door. The warmth of her run still hovers around her frame. “Ah, I was in the neighborhood… I scented you. You ought not be so shocked I found you out, kintana.”

That’s not weird at all.


Yeah,” Colette mumbles with a sweep of one hand through her hair, “that tracks…” She takes a few scuffing steps over to the makeshift sofa and drops down on it, sending a cloud of dust gusting up into the air around her. “This might come as a total shock to you, but I’m told I sometimes give off a lot of,” she waves her hands above her head, “emotional spectrum, or something. I’ve had telepaths tell me to please be quiet.” Her dark brows scrunch up, nose wrinkles, and she lowers her arms to drape across the back of the bench seat sofa.

Looking up to Huruma, Colette blows an errant lock of hair from her face. “I don’t, uh, live here,” she suddenly says, briefly awkward. “It’s— just for getting space when I need it. My house— our house— is right up the street. Sometimes I just need a little bit of time between me, some old CDs, and my bike. Helps clear my head.”

As Colette plops onto her ‘sofa’, Huruma angles further inside to circle around the bike she'd been working on. To ‘emotional spectrum’ she lifts her head and murmurs a quick, sarcastic, “No…” Not Colette. No way.

“I thought I felt Tamara. She is as noticeable, just…in other ways.” Huruma gives a small crook of a smile, drawing one hand over the bars of the motorcycle. “I know you do not live here. This is too much of your personal den to be sharing it with your partners. And I understand escapism rather well.”

Colette manages a soft smile at that, watching Huruma as she enter the garage. “Gotta have a place to keep that one safe,” she nods to the bike, often seen in Rochester and quite likely Colette’s only means of conveyance. “It got me out of Utah during the war, though it looked a lot more beat to shit back then. I kinda’ like fixer-uppers though…” she grins, “they kinda’ remind me of myself.”

Huruma’s bike isn’t quite as charming as Colette’s Lean Green Machine. Hers looks more like something that a Ghost Rider would have. Suitably.

Cars can be overrated.” Maybe Wendigo should start a biker gang instead. Huruma inspects the work that Colette had been doing when she arrived. “Also expensive. I’ve actually liked the semi-return to mechanics. Vehicle programming was becoming bloated and unsecure. Though I did see some nice toys now and again.” Huruma turns a small laugh to Colette, leaving her trusty bike alone. “There was at least one military grade SUV I was not even allowed to drive— but goodness did it have a presence.”

The evidence of basic maintenance is evident on the motorcycle, a small tub of wax sits nearby with a rag and some chrome polish. It’s clear the vehicle is important to Colette. “Reminds me of how protective Avi is over the Katsch, he hardly lets anyone else drive it,” Colette admits with a lopsided smile. “The fit he must have pitched when we took turns taking it out to Detroit…” her smile turns into a bit of a smirk as she uncrosses and recrosses her legs at the knee.

“You know, seeing you at the gala was… I dunno, unexpected.” Colette raises one brow, “I mean not as unexpected as seeing you here, but… I don’t know, some reason I never pinned you down as somebody who was into the high-society stuff. I’d figure all those people would be overwhelming.” Then, thoughtfully, she looks down at a duct-tape patch on the cushion. “I guess… you’ve had a long time to get accustomed to that sort of stuff, though.”

“Ben was the same about the truck.” Huruma crosses her arms with a faint huff of breath. Ah, men and their wheels and wings. Sometimes a boat or two. “But that was a long time ago.” She gives Colette a dry sort of smile at that, one more glance roving over the bike before looking down to the younger woman. Her look turns a little skeptical.

“Unexpected?” Huruma’s eyes twitch with a smile, and she moves over to set down on the bench seat beside Colette. A hand moves up to ruffle at the woman’s dark hair. “Oh, darling, I have always had a taste for ‘high society’. You met me when there was not much to be had, hm? And yes… I’ve had a long time to become accustomed to certain spaces.”

One dark hand moves out in a mimic of what seems like tentacles. “I know when to reach,” the hand closes into a fist. “And when to shut.”

A smile ghosts across Colette’s lips when ‘Ben’ is mentioned. One of the people like Huruma who’d personally rescued her from Mount Natazhat. She hadn't seen him since before the war, but it was relieving to know that somewhere out there Benjamin Ryans was still watching.

“I wish I knew when to shut,” Colette breaks the momentary silence with a self-deprecating joke. “I've… felt like an exposed nerve for so many years I don't remember what it feels like t’feel normal. I get worried that the stuff the Institute did t’me fucked up my brain.” Her dark brows crease together, legs uncrossing and knees raised just a little as she pulls her heels up into the bench seat.

“I get so fucking mad sometimes…” Colette looks over to an oil spot on the floor, focusing distantly through it. “S’fucking so embarrassing sometimes. I just— ” She stops, running a hand through her hair. “Y’know.” Huruma does, indeed, know.

Huruma could argue that much of what he does anymore is watching. Mister Retired. As Colette jokes at her own expense, the dark woman beside her seems intent on hearing it for what it is, eyes on the girl.

“It probably did. Mess with your brain.” Leading with this is not exactly what other people would choose. “Exposed nerve or not, you have the right to be made of anger.” Huruma is no stranger to it, that is certain.

“Rage is righteous when it needs to be, but most find it difficult to coexist with theirs. Regardless, it is nothing to be ashamed of.” This comes with a clench of jaw, determinate. “And yes. I know. I always know.” Huruma blinks once, catlike. “It is not about shutting down// your emotions. Harness them, do not strangle them… it is shutting the door.”

The honestly elicits a look from Colette that Huruma’s rarely seen from the younger woman. It's a conflicted expression of both appreciation and uncertainty. Perhaps when she was younger, but Colette had grown into a more self-assured woman than the confused child she was. At least, outside of moments such as this.

“The last time I… I got incandescent with rage, I…” Colette threads a lock of hair behind one ear and rests her chin on her knees. “I made a huge mistake and cost Wolfhound it's autonomy. Cost myself… everything it worked for.” Her slip up the first day back on the job with her call-sign may have chafed more than she let on.

Looking up to Huruma, Colette’s conflict is painted by her expressive brows. “I can hardly control it sometimes. The anger. The resentment. Meditation doesn't work, blowing off steam… sometimes. But I tweaked my wrist a little beating my punching bag into shape last month.”

“Therapy… helps.” Colette levels a blind stare over at her bike. “I've started going to a veterans group too, uptown. I haven't talked yet but… but listening to the folks talk about their experiences— it's made me feel…” she sighs. “I dunno. It's made me feel.”

“Between you and I, if your tale is true, I am happy that you ‘made a huge mistake’.” Huruma leans back on the seat, legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles. Unlike people such as Kenner— Huruma does not have to censor herself. She gives a small huff, eyes somewhat restless as she removes the sweater from over her tank. The back of it cleans her face of lingering moisture. Hmph.

“A cannon always needs a target. Sometimes it can be the wrong target.” That much she understands. Another moment is spent in consideration before Huruma speaks again, lips moving from a purse. “You know, when I left to live for a time in Madagascar, my son was the one to convince me of getting ‘help’. I've tried to continue that here. One reason I stay with Lynette.” Access.

“She even nudged me to a group. Not like yours, though I did the same… Sat outside the door, listening, never going in. There will always be— reasons for not doing it, but fewer excuses. Mainly fear. A flavor of it.” Huruma tests a glance down to Colette. “I've even come to realize things about myself that were foreign to me before. I'd never been in the right place to see them. Ever. So… stick with it.”

It may be because she never really knew Huruma prior to her time in Wolfhound, but Colette finds something comforting and grounding about the older woman. There's a wisdom in her words and a lived-in truth of someone who has seen the cruelty the world has to offer and came out from it for the better.

“Fear’s real,” Colette affirms. “Seeing a therapist, going to a group… all of it’s harder than any conflict I was in during the war.” An exaggeration, if only just. “But I can't let myself become a feral cat, I've got… I have a family. People who rely on me. I've gotta be able to control myself, because…”

Colette hesitates, looking up and over to Huruma. “I've got to be civilized because it isn't us versus the world anymore. My might-as-well-be-father-in-law is the secretary of Homeland Security. I… I could've gone to him, and I know he would've helped. But I didn't. Because…” she sighs, looking to the backs of her knees. “Because I'm afraid it's all an illusion.”

Finally stretching out her legs again, Colette turns back to Huruma with a nervous tension in her limbs. “Some days I'm afraid I never left Alaska… and that this is just— just another weird dream.”

“I know exactly how you feel, kintana.” Huruma's affectionate diminutive is just that, words coming with a reassuring calm. “I have never known a life without… conflict. I had no choice. But now that is what I use to make things right. If you had told me ten years ago that I would be with something like Wolfhound, and have people so important to me…” she shows her teeth in a smile, edging with part of a grimace. “I would not have believed it.”

That Colette did not know her before is, perhaps, a good thing. There are always stories and dossiers and even Avi’s probable avoiding the mess halls in her presence— but Huruma prefers now to let it lie.

“We have far more in common than I once thought.” The admission is light, the meaning heavier. “Having people that rely on you… wanting to become tamer for the ones you love. It is difficult. Especially if you have not known anything else— it may seem impossible. It is not.”

“If we are being frank… I envy you, somewhat. You have partners devoted to your well being, and despite your suffering you still think of them first. That is love, as far as I know it.”

There's an earnesty in the smile that creeps up across Colette’s face at that comment. She looks away, momentarily embarrassed and then in almost the same breath proud. “I don't always, but— I try to, y’know, think of them first. Sometimes that's easier than others but… you're right, it is love.” Absently, Colette spins the ring she wears as she talks.

“You've got a whole huge family too, though. Not even counting your blood relatives back home. But the Ryanses— Ryans?” Colette scrunches up her nose. “Lucille’s family cares a lot about you. It's— maybe not the same, but in a lot of ways it is. Tamara and I were basically family before we fell in love.” Blind eyes track to the side, “and it happened backwards for Tasha and I. Love at— basically first sight for me. Then… then family.”

She smiles again, stretching her legs out and crossing them at her ankles. “Given everything we've been through… I feel like we’re both pretty lucky to be where we are.”

The spin of the ring and the pleased shyness is about what Huruma expects. She wanted Colette to hear it.

She speaks on family then, and Huruma's features soften as she looks to hands folded over the wad of sweater on her lap. The muscles of her arms tense and unwind as her fingers flex silently.

“We are.” Huruma's lips curve upward, more solemn than before. “I didn't have much of anyone since I was a child, until I came here, and went to Madagascar. Found my son there. My grandmother.” Pale eyes settle on Colette, pupils wide. “I was able to…connect again, after that. Ferry people first. Then I met Ben again at Lucy's, then the girls, and it seemed to go from there. We earned our people, I suppose.”

“But… you should still let me be a little envious.” There's a sharper grin, and it is fleeting. “You three girls, Lynette and her husband, Kaylee and Joseph… too sweet together, you know?”

Colette slow turns toward Huruma, brows furrowed and then one slowly raising. “Wait,” one eye narrows a little bit more than the other. “Lynette… has a husband?” Somehow when Nicole kept mentioning Lynette's partner she just assumed—

“I— I think I owe Nicole twenty bucks.”

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