Someone To Run Back To


nicole2_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Someone To Run Back To
Synopsis Nicole meets with Sable outside the Greenbelt to apprise her of Colette's situation.
Date December 12, 2010

Staten Island

On a road just outside the Greenbelt.

Koshka's a smart kid, well behaved. Sable is sure she can take care of herself and the dogs for a few hours, just long enough for Sable to make one measly ill advised foray outside the protective enclosure of the forest that keeps the Garden hidden away. It's been days upon days without a single word from Colette, who left Sable with an entire safehouse all to herself, at least until supplies, visitors and the first refugee arrived. Out of sheer necessity, both to do the job she must and to prevent herself from going batshit fucking loco, she's done a good job of holding down the fort. But a lone soldier can only last so long.

It took Sable a while to buckle and call Nicole, appealing along the only line she felt safe about - like hell is she going to buzz through Tasha, that's a road she can't imagine walking down. One must never underestimate the selfishness of even the most heartfelt concern. Sable may not fully appreciate just what it takes to get out here to Staten Island, but her nervousness and anticipation, all coming out now that she's confronting the reality of her mental state, certainly demonstrate a kind of gratitude. She sits on a bit of broken concrete, some far flung piece of a median or roadblock, in the band of turf separating the road from the Greenbelt. It's not a terrifically distinct meeting place, but distinctness and the discretion they both require don't much blend. In the chill of the December evening, however early, Sable is wrapped up in her puffy black winter coat, legs tugged up into its oversized interior. She's still shivering, though, yellow eyes darting hawkishly from end to end of the road.

A lone figure travelling the road by foot is perhaps a bit out of place. Sable has never known Nicole Nichols to look so unlike herself. The coat she wears is threadbare, a relic from the 90s, worn to near uselessness but too beloved to pitch. A ratty olive sweatshirt is beneath the jacket, small holes giving a peek of a black thermal long-sleeved tee beneath. Her jeans are baggy, but so she can wear flannel pants beneath them for added warmth without it being obvious that she can afford such things. Her boots are old, the shoestrings broken so they can't even be laced all the way, tied tight in a knot halfway up one and three quarters of the way on the other. A faded pea green scarf - one that may have been closer to lime in its prime - is whipped around in the breeze. The military style cap on her head keeps her identity obscured until she lifts her chin to make sure that the small woman she's approaching is, in fact, the woman she came to see.

Getting out to Staten Island was expensive. Not that Nicole had any qualms about parting with the cash. She makes enough money - has enough of it stowed away - to support these unexpected expenses. Like handing her sister two thousand dollars in cash out of the blue. "Where was our first date?" Nicole asks when she's close enough to speak without raising her voice.

What is this, a pop quiz? Sable is not even genre savvy enough to discern to what end this question might be put. She'd already gotten to her feet upon spying Nicole, the futures of her movements as familiar, now, as the movements themselves, as her bearing. More familiar, certainly, than her outfit which is astoundingly unsnappy considering that it's her wearing it. But familiar, yes, and leaving her in no doubt as to Nicole's general Nicholsness, and specific Nicoleness.

Yellow eyes give Nicole a 'um, whatnow?' look, but Sable answers, as best she can. "Some pizza place, gorgeous," she says, head tilting, "gonna have t' f'rgive me f'r f'rgettin' th' name. Pretty sure I w's a bit nervous 'bout takin' out th' classiest chick I ever had th' privilege t' lock lips with, though th' lip lockin' came later. That I recall." Her smile is roguish, but there's a careworn touch around her eyes.

"Didn't plan on this bein' how I'd see y' 'gain," Sable says, voice kept low enough, "rather it not be, surely. Rather we have more wine t' share 'n' less worries t' carry 'round. But that just ain't our world, eh? Thanks f'r comin' out. Fact is," the younger woman makes a face, "I'm… sorta losin' it. Don't hardly sleep, 'n' gotta work m'self t' th' bone jus' t' stop from havin' a real turn, start breakin' shit. But that's neither here nor there, eh? Y'all know where our gal is? I… need her pretty bad, right 'bout now."

Nicole shakes her head. "I'm sorry I was a bitch when you called. I… Colette's in real trouble. Her father's been arrested." Not their father, but Colette's. "I think they've tapped his phone. I don't know for sure. But… I don't want to risk that mine's been tapped either. That's why I blew you off. I didn't want anybody to look into your call."

The wind blows through Nicole's hair as she offers a shaky smile, and then holds her arms out for a hug. "It's good to see you. I'm glad you're okay. I… don't think Colette's coming back, though. And… Don't tell me where you're going back to. I need to have plausible deniability." Something she's well used to in her line of work.

"Naw, naw, 's fine," Sable says, waving a hand, the hurt of that moment having already been forgotten and now twice banished, "shit's heavy. I… I understand that," though this heavy? "I jus'- figured she'd let me fuckin' know, jus'." Her nose twitches in a sniff, one that she mercilessly rubs at with her wrist, almost angry at this tiny display of something or other.

The offered hug is considered for just a split second before it is accepted. And it's tight, revelatory of surprising strength in Sable's wiry little frame. "Fuckin' hell," she says, cheek pressed against the fabric of Nicole's coat, "I'm jus'… howsit that she-" but she cuts herself off, drawing back from Nicole, though retaining close proximity, peering right up the older woman, "I jus'… I need t' talk t' her. Or jus'- she needs t' know I'm waitin', okay? Like, not that it's no rush. Jus' that I'm here, and I'm waitin', and whenever - y'know - whenever-" here comes another sniff, which Sable berated and buffets with a short, sharp, frustrated huff, "jus' tell 'er, if y' get th' chance, arright?"

"She didn't have time," Nicole says in her sister's defense. "We figured out what happened to her dad and I sent her running right then. She didn't… have time to tell anyone."

The older woman is rather more reluctant to lean back from the hug than Sable is. Nicole is on the verge of tears, some already having been shed just from the chill wind alone. It doesn't make her battle against her emotions easier. "She knows you're here. I'm sure of it. She has faith in you." Whether she knows this because Colette told her, or because she assumes it, she believes what she tells Sable. "I don't… know that she'll come back. And if she does, it won't be for a while. Not until she's sure it won't put you in danger."

One has to hope, at least. Nicole sighs and rests her chin atop Sable's head, wrapping her arms around the shorter woman a little tighter. "If you need me, call me, but hang up before you get voicemail and I'll call you back from a pay phone as soon as I can. If it's an emergency, leave a voicemail, but ask for Steve. Can you remember that?"

Oh no. No no no, Nicole isn't close crying, is she? And she isn't hugging- no, she's definitely hugging Sable and it's all way too much all at once and in shameful, furious seconds Sable's pale cheeks are flushing a red that is beyond even the nippiness of the air and the chapping of the wind as she tries to suck back tears which she cannot stand to have coursing down her cheeks but there they are, salty and quickly cooling in the chill.

Sable doesn't often cry, and less often still are her tears untinged with fury, but these are one of those few times, and, for all that Sable would love to appear mature and impressive before Nicole, she cries like a child. She cries like she did before she taught herself to stop crying. Shaky little breaths and stuffy nosed sobs come at a unremitting pace as she presses her face into Nicole, trying to summon - with fingers clenched tight into fists grasping the threadbare jacket - just a little of the anger that usually saves her from this sort of display. No dice, though, she has to wait it out.

And even then Sable draws away a little early, still welling tears, sniffing in a way that is, we must admit, not very attractive. She rubs at her face with one arm, vigorously, clearing her upper lip of mucus, and her cheeks of saline. Sniff. Sniiiiiff. "Nyeah," Sable confirms, at stuffy length, "I can do that. Yeah, sure. Sure. Thanks," she looks up at Nicole with red-rimmed eyes, adamant in her next words, "thank you."

With Sable so open in her breakdown, Nicole isn't sure if she should pull it together, like she's always done for her little sister, and the the rock, the pillar of strength, or if this means she's allowed the breakdown of her own that she hasn't had yet. The latter would be glorious in all its ingloriousness. But she settles on the former, choking back her own tears. She's older. Has more practise.

At least, this is what she tells herself to force it to be true. To force herself to put her pieces all back together for Sable's sake. Nicole's offering a sad smile to the girl that would be her sister's friend, while her would-be lover. "She can't help you," she says honestly. "Colette has to look after herself now and… And stay way from the people she loves."

That means Nicole as well. She stares off into the distance over Sable's head, focusing on something far away and trying to let her mind wander over what it is she sees rather than let herself dwell on her other thoughts enough for them to grab purchase of her mind. "She asked me… to go with her. And I had to say no." Full lips press together, and Nicole sniffles wetly. She'll blame the cold.

"Did I do the right thing, Sable?"

"Thass jus'," Sable begins, and she looks on the verge of bubbling over again, though this time with a little more fire, "jus' bullshit is what it is!" a dangerously ambiguous way to respond after someone has just asked you, worriedly, if they've done the right thing. "She does herself th' worst 'f harm, runnin' like she does. Why's she gotta fuckin' run? What's t' fuckin' run from? I care f'r fuck's sake. 'n' I don't care whatall I gotta face f'r her. I don't, 'n' I'm s- sick t' fuckin' d- d- death 'f-"

What she's sick to death of will have to wait, apparently, because Sable must muster all her strength to stop the stammer from disintegrating into another flurry of pitiful sobs. Pathetic, in a number of senses. She does a better job this time, and this time she actually answers Nicole's question, rather than merely focusing on her own singular strife. "D- dunno," she says, a bit helplessly and perhaps unhelpfully as well, "I woulda- woulda gone with b- but…" she wipes her nose again, "I'm a damned fool 'round her."

And suddenly Nicole understands why things just don't quite click with Sable. And why Colette was so eager to ensure they meet. "If they catch her, Sable…" And even still, Nicole isn't sure who they are, "I don't think I'll ever see her again. Not unless they give me a body to bury." And she has her doubts of that. "I don't… I don't even fucking now how I know that it's this bad. But I know. Her dad's a fucking cop. They arrested a cop. And I can't find him anywhere. The NYPD doesn't have him. It's like he disappeared."

With all her connections, Nicole can't find Judah Demsky. And that's what scares her the most about this situation. "I couldn't go with her." She's rationalising. Trying to exonerate herself from the feeling of having abandoned her baby sister.


"My face is too well known. And if I ran, they'd know we knew they're looking for her. The longer they think she's unaware, the better off she's going to be." Nicole steps past Sable now, coming to sit heavily on the concrete barrier the younger woman was perched on when she arrived. The concrete is cold against her legs and her bottom, but she doesn't feel it for all that she's been left numb by her fear. It's only just now begun to settle in that she should fear for herself.

The honesty Nicole is offering is of a particularly brutal variety, at least to Sable's ears. For all that she's rough and tumble, and for all that she is hard on others, at times, for what she deems their softness, the grim possibility of 'a body to bury' has never really been put to her. There is most definitely the potential for more tears in the wake of this, but Sable forcibly derails her imagination to prevent a dissolve into emotion that she has never been able to control, only redirect.

She does so by hitting herself, very hard, in the arm with a clenched fist, the thwap of the blow against puffy black jacket making the strike sound much less painful than it is. It is painful, but that's okay. It remains okay for two more blows, but after that her arm is sore, and she lays off, biting her lip instead and sniffling furiously. When she feels like she might have regained herself sufficiently she steps over to the ad hoc bench and settles herself down next to Nicole, looking up at the older woman.

She sees, there, a grief outside and beyond her own, tied up in family relations, personal limitations and mutual risk. Sable's narcissism is piebald, wearing thin in patches, and those she feels for often manage to tear its cover. Carefully, she slips an arm around behind her - she's never entirely sure how a Nichols girl will react to this or that form of comfort. But she's trying, and in doing so stepping a little bit outside her own personal blue.

"We gotta hold down th' fort," Sable offers, voice a little rough from the previous boilings over, "gotta make sure she's got someone t' run back t' when she's… when she's got need t' come back t' us. Don't do nobody no good t' cash out now. Gotta- gotta play cagey, 'n' thass what we're doin'. Making sure there's something f'r her t' return to once she's done doin' what she's gotta do."

When Sable puts it that way, it seems so reasonable. So simple. Just be here, carry on, so there's something worth coming back to. If only that's all it really boiled down to. Nicole tips over to rest against Sable's arms, all broken-hearted misery.

The shiver that comes over her has nothing to do with the cold. "I can't even throw money at this," Nicole murmurs. "What kind of fucking problem can't be solved with bribery?"

An insistence on simplicity is a coping mechanism like any other, only so many steps away from saying 'what will be, will be'. But it never hurts to have a few more rationalizations at your disposal. Sable is relieved to find that there is no explosive reaction to her half-hug, and goes so far as to upgrade it to a full one, arms looped around Nicole, her smallness belying her substance, the adamant materiality of her presence that lends her what gravity she has.

Her chin tips upward as she sets a kiss to Nicole's hair, just under the line of her hat. "We all were meant t' be t'gether, one way 'r 'nother," she says, with a solemnity that makes her sincerity seem all the more sincere, though potentially more ridiculous, "'s long 's she's actin' outta love, which f'r her pa she surely is, it'll work out. There ain't no one y' c'n save that can't be saved."

Shaky, nervous laughter bubbles forth past Nicole's lips, tipping fully against Sable now as she loses her composure for a moment in a fit of giggles. "All you need is love," she responds just as the tears begin to fall in earnest. "I haven't felt this helpless since…"

Those memories bring sick to the back of her throat, burning with bile. "Oh God." Nicole's breath comes out in a shudder, and she clings to Sable now.

"Thass gospel," Sable says, a slight curl of her lips suggesting a smile as Nicole catches the source of her recitation. Beats Bible quotations any day. The sudden shift to true cling exorcises the ghost of her expression. The trail off into memory is one that Sable fears she may actually know the course of, and it drops an icy sink in her stomach. The best she can think to do is hold Nicole all the tighter, pressing her nose into the older woman's hair and murmuring. "But this it ain't," she promises, low, steady cadence of her voice half lyrical, half lullaby, "'n' all that's far 'way 'n' long past. 's you 'n' me, 'n' my care f'r you, 'n' our troubles t'gether, borne on both our backs. And it's gonna be alright."

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