Something of an Invitation


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Scene Title Something of an Invasion
Synopsis Joseph and Kaylee make Hannah a proposition on behalf of the Ferry.
Date December 8, 2010

Pollepel Island: Forest

The ground is a little trecherous — icy, damp, although currently the frigid air is dry and the sky is blue rather than pepper-shaking snow, sleet or rain down upon pastor and telepath as they move through the woodland of the island. Offering a hand down a short slope of dirt and green, Joseph waits until Kaylee has her footing before continuing on their short journey, arms wrapping around himself as breath comes out as white vapour on each exhale. "She volunteered on her own, f'the convoy rescue," he's saying, keeping his voice down. "And a coupla patrols down the river. Knows her way around guns, and the like."

For the most part, most of what Joseph is telling Kaylee about Hannah Kirby is stuff he's heard others say, even if he got a close and personal preview of the younger woman's capabilities himself on the day he got rescued. He'd already explained, over coffee and watching the Hudson river grease leadenly along out a window, about the four questionables. About Foster's suspicious behaviour, and Phillips' own damning evidence, and the two young ladies who are unfortunately guilty by association. About how they are probably not spies. Or that's the working idea.

And how Operation: Hugs is supposed to work. Get them invested.

"Doin' security full-time shouldn't be too much of a leap. Make 'em feel appreciated," Joseph adds as they move on closer to where they were pointed.

Kaylee's hands are cold whenever they touch his, knuckles a little red from spending so much time cold and damp from the various chores that need doing around the castle. At least they haven't started splitting yet. Brows lift a little listening, while she folds her hands before her mouth and blows warm air into them trying to give them a brief moments reprieve.

"I honestly, can't see why she wouldn't. I mean — beyond the fact that her friend has been detained." Kaylee's head shakes slowly side to side, brows dropping thoughtfully. "If she's already volunteering, hopefully she'll come around."

Hand grips his arm only long enough to step over a few roots that threaten to trip her up. Kaylee's been rather thankful not to have to wear skirts anymore, they would have been a pain in this terrain. Of course, once she lets go, it's with a quick apologetic brush of her hand to smooth out any scrunched fabric. "I kind of think your pushing it bringing me along." Grimacing a little, get sends a lightly pained look Joseph's way. "I can't imagine the rumor mill hasn't gotten to her yet."

Hannah Kirby does not seem the kind of woman prone to gossip. Smiles, yes. Laughter, sometimes. She's still nursing a hangover from the previous evening when she received a healthy dose of both, which might explain why she's chosen to sequester herself in the trees while the headache medication given to her by the volunteers at the infirmary takes effect.

The sound of her axe connecting with the piece of wood stood up on a squat stump sends birds skittering out of the trees and makes more noise than her skull probably likes, but she's at least the one responsible for it and can brace herself at the moment of impact. Of average height and size for a thirty-something female, she can't cleave the wood in two as easily as some of the men on the island, but her arms and the muscles in her taut stomach are strong, and the log cracks apart under the force of the second blow.

She hasn't seen Joseph and Kaylee yet. Won't, unless she turns around so her back isn't to them.

"Well," Joseph chuckles out, voice going even quieter when the sound of hatchet cleaving through splintery wood signifies the woman's presence nearby, "if they expect us t'trust their telepath, they'll get used to ours too, one way or another." His hand seeks her's again and squeezes it, and then in a gesture that might make Hannah feel a little less out numbered, he retracts that touch once more, and walks in a way that seperates himself from the blonde telepath by a few feet.

He hesitates, the first time — judging the timing of the axe so as not to call her name when she's bringing it down upon the log and maybe accidentally slicing off some foot in the process. He allows for a second thwunk of metal through wood before getting her attention; "Hannah? Hannah Kirby, right?

"Hi. This is Kaylee. Think you know mine already."

Okay he has a point, but it does little to stem that little knot of anxiety that comes with meeting new people. That dreaded wait to see if they are going to look at her and flee or not. Letting Joseph drift from her side, the telepath moves to stop where she is. A breath is taken and let out in a huff of white steam, forcing herself to relax and up on a smile. It's not overly forced. Smiling does come naturally to Kaylee.

But that was easier five years ago.

Kaylee lifts a hand in a small, somewhat shy wave. "We were kind of hoping to have a chat with you?" The smile brightens a little and brows lift in a hopeful way. "Have a little time to spare?" Of course, out here who doesn't?

Turning, Hannah wipes the sleeve of her shirt, a heavy, loose thing of blue and black flannel worn over a much tighter fitted top that conforms to her shape like the pair of jeans on her legs but not the snugly-laced hiking boots on her feet, wool socks rolled up past her ankles. She mirrors Kaylee's smile, tips the axe so she can lean some of her weight into the handle. "Sumter, right?"

It's a rhetorical question, if Joseph wants to consider it a question at all. There's gentle teasing in her tone, her voice sounding worn and surprisingly rich for someone who doesn't have a very deep chest. "Nice to meet you," she tells Kaylee, and tucks the gold chain she wears around her throat down the front of her shirt to keep it from getting in the way, which is something she probably should have done before she picked up the axe to begin with. "I've always got some time for you folks."

"We won't take up too much've it," Joseph adds, coming to a halt, hands tucked into the pockets of his coat, black-eyed focus assessing without particular judgment or uncomfortable scrutiny. "I was hoping to talk to you a little 'bout, uh— " His game plan: he rarely has one, besides cruising on up and talking, but this time, he finds himself hesitating, looking briefly tired as he drags a hand out of the warm, wool-lined pocket and scratches along his jaw, eyebrows lifting.

He jolts a small shrug. "Well, we wanted to extend you and your friends somethin' of an invitation. If you'd be agreeable to pitching in for a little while longer — we appreciate the work."

"Likewise." Relief colors the word, when it's clear that Hannah isn't going to throw up fingers in a warding gesture and flee. Shoulders dip a little as she relaxes, that little knot in her stomach easing a little.

The act of tucking the necklace away, catches Kaylee's eye, if briefly. As most people have necklaces herself and Joseph included, it's only a passing glance and without much thought. Joseph gets an encouraging look, her head nodding in agreement of what he's offering.

"We've all been kind of… tossed into this together, even if by accident." Blue eyes focus on Hannah again, her smile gentle. "And from what I've heard — " from Joseph no doubt " — you were a big help getting him back. Protecting him as well, I especially owe you a big thanks for bringing him back." Hands rest, one over the other, over Kaylee's heart.

"Thank you."

Sidling a look Joseph's direction, she suddenly looking a touch embarrassed. Kaylee glances down, teeth scraping her bottom lip briefly, getting back to what's at hand. "We could really use y'all's help, so we're hoping you and yours will agree to stay on for a bit."

"Well," says Hannah, "I can't speak for my friends." Which doesn't mean she won't speak for herself. She pushes up the sleeves of her flannel shirt up to her knobby elbows, warm in spite of the mist that leaves her nose and mouth with every breath she puts out. Chopping wood isn't hard work, but it's work, and it gets the blood flowing. Nearby, her jacket hangs off a low branch guarded by a jay that isn't actually doing any guarding at all, instead waiting to see if the people on the ground have any food on them, and how easy it would be to steal if they do.

The island's local wildlife is still in the process of acclimating to its human presence. Chances are this individual bird will be pushier come spring, assuming it survives the the impending winter. "You sure you want us here, though? Your Special Activities director don't take too kindly to us, and I don't wanna rock the boat."

"We'd rather you here," Joseph offers, bluntly, after a small uneasy, if more abashed glance Kaylee's way for her sentiment. It accompanies a flicker of a smile, but his focus remains on the older of the two women, absently scuffing the toe of his boot against the grass. "If we're talkin' about rocking the boat, I mean. We talked it over and figured y'all might do more good than harm if you do more've the same and stand by us for a little while. And actually— "

A piece of wood gets nudge at by boot toe, before the pastor determinedly sets both soles of his boots down on the ground. "We were wonderin' if you'd be interested in joining us. And Special Activities. We're a bunch of— just a bunch of ordinary people trying to make do, and you got some skill."

Glancing around, Kaylee sides steps over to a large rock and settles to sit on it, feeling comfortable enough that Hannah isn't going to turn Jack Nicholson on them and use the axe on they. Thought, it's more like ease herself down on it, since it's awefully cold. "Well, can't blame him too much. The lot of you are new faces and it's pretty much his job to protect us." Hands pull apart in a helpless gesture, shoulders lifting a little.

"I'm sure you noticed, this isn't the most militant group." Not like it's a big secret. All one had to do it walk through the castle. Head shifting in the direction of the castle, but she doesn't look at it, her eyes kind of settle on a point on the ground. "Not our specialty. A lot of families and kids. Lots of kids lately."

Turning her attention back to the dark haired woman, Kaylee smiles a bit, "So like Joseph said, you've got skills where we could especially use it. Protecting these families and kids, by working for the director." The telepath can't help but grin, "He'll warm up to you. I don't believe he'll turn down the help." It is after all the councils decision.

"I dunno," Hannah says with a shrug of her shoulders, circling around the stump to pick up another piece of wood in her arms. "I been hearing talk of leashes, or at least I'm pretty sure that's the word he used for me'n the fox." She sets the wood down on the stump, swivels it until it stands upright on its own, then swings up her axe again, not to bring it swiftly down but to balance it on her shoulder as she considers the task in front of her and debates the angle that she wants to attack it from.

"Militant, that don't bother me much. I don't think my daddy'd like it, but I've got some experience and don't mind taking orders so long as they're fair and I'm not being dragged around by a collar." She gives the axe a loose bounce. "Sure, I guess."

Joseph presses what he hopes looks like a sympathetic smile her way — and it is, to a degree, but possibly maxed out with reservation and weariness. Still, there's a warmth there, and evident in his voice as well when he next speaks. "Your friend's been let off his. Leash, I mean. Off the negation, don't need a supervisor, and he's agreed to stay put for a little while longer," he says. "And I'm sorry all that had to happen. We'll all be a little happier if we can trust you four, and we figure—

"A little responsibility goes some way and frankly I'd sooner see someone like you and your friends on our side 'stead've not. It's your decision, though. I won't be the one to stop you either way. Thanks for agreein'."

"I agree with him there." Kaylee offers softly, curling shoulders forward and wrapping arms around herself against the cold, her attention steady on the other woman. "I'm pretty sure they will be fair." She seems rather confident of that.

"I hope y'all can forgive the excessive caution, considering what all had happened." Glancing down, she watches the tip of her foot pushing into a bit of left over snow. "It's better to take the extra steps, then to get stabbed in the back later." Even at her own words, Kaylee's smile falls away, sadness flitting across her features. It's already happened once already. It's on the tip of her tongue, but she doesn't say it , pressing lip tightly together to make sure.

Instead, Kaylee says softly, "Yes, thank you for the help."

"Honey," Hannah says to Joseph with a throaty laugh, "you couldn't stop me even if you tried." Her smile splits into a toothy grin and the axe strikes wood. This time, it comes apart in two pieces without her having to prep another blow. One tumbles off into the damp earth with a muffled thump. The other she has to pluck up in her hand and toss into the small pile she's accumulated over the last fifteen or twenty minutes — enough to keep the hearth in the castle's dining hall burning for a couple of hours at least.

"Anyway, you're more'n welcome," she adds, and that must be enough wood for now because she buries the axe in the stump for the next person on woodcutting duty to wrestle out. "I don't suppose I could convince you to help me carry this back up? It's a trip or two by my lonesome and I oughta be checking in Howard to make sure he isn't stirring up trouble where he shouldn't."

"Least I can do," Joseph easily agrees, moving forward to help pick up the fragments of log to stack them in his own arms. And head tilt to Kaylee to urge her to take over when he can't comfortably pile them on anymore, gripping onto the bundle with only a little unsteadiness. Hopefully the one chunk of wood that does come free and tumble into snow isn't foreshadowing his journey back to the castle, but handling timber and manual labour both aren't unfamiliar to him.

One can probably tell that official business is over, as he stands and waits for the trek back up to begin, and asks, "So where're you from anyhow? Normally I can pick 'em."

She doesn't even need to be prompted, arms unfold and palms press against the cold rock to push herself up to stand. Hands quickly brushing at the seat of her jeans to make sure nothing clings to them and tug her jacket into place. "Happily." Kaylee states lightly with a bright smile, feeling more at ease with Hannah now that it seems like she's staying and business is concluded.

While she probably can't handle as many as the other two, Kaylee doesn't shirk from taking on as much as she can. Crouching down and tucking some golden strands, that have come free from the bun on the back of her head, behind an ear she starts to pick up the split wood. Tucking it in her arm, she glances at Hannah curious about the answer to Joseph's question.

"Here and there," sounds more neutral than it does evasive, but it's earnest, too. "I spent some time down southeast, but I don't like sticking around in any one place too long." Hannah takes what Joseph and Kaylee cannot, one denim-clad knee in the damp soil as she uses her thighs to help stack the firewood in her arms. "I came here thinking I could do some good."

She rises in a smooth motion; balance is as important as strength, and if the rumours about her being a former fighter are true, then it's probably no surprise that she's able to navigate the terrain without having to look at her feet. Graceful is the wrong word for it.

Synchronized would be better. "My daddy died when I was fourteen. Momma not too long after. Lucky daddy remarried before he passed, so I had someone to look after me 'til I was old enough to look after myself, but soon as I hit eighteen? Outta there faster than you can say lickity-split."

"Well, y'won't be the first drifter to wind up in this city, of all places." Joseph heads for the castle, arms loaded, moving carefully without necessarily being slow about it, just mindful of trecherous ground and being unable to clearly see his own feet. He shares a look to Kaylee, offers her a smile just for she and he, before more neutrally regarding the castle they approach. "But it ain't so bad. Well. It is, but."

But, that Joseph has no claim to make in New York City's defense shouldn't put you off or nothing.

The smile he gives her is mirrored, before Kaylee glances away herself as well, maybe a bit self conscious. "Well, good or bad is all in the company you keep." It's a softly spoken comment. "Good people in your life make the bad not seem so much so."

There is a grace to Kaylee's movements — normally. With an arm full of wood, there isn't much overly graceful as she moves carefully, since last thing she needs is to trip over a sneaky root or something. She does her best to keep up, lagging a bit behind as she considers each step. "So… not the best relationship with your step mom, huh?" She sounds almost understanding of Hannah's situation, if a little distracted by her trying not to fall flat on her face.

There is a scrunch of her nose and a bit of a sigh, Kaylee glancing at Hannah. "My mom and I don't really get along, still don't really. Once I was old enough to leave, I was out of the house and here in New York." And getting into trouble.

"We got along," Hannah says starting back up the path, her footing sure, "best as mothers and daughters do, anyway. Got harder after we put him in the ground, of course, but so did a lot of things. Probably would'a been better if I'd stayed instead of thinking I was doing her a favour by pitching myself outta the nest like some sorta suicidal baby bird."

It's not a long walk from the edge of the wood to the crumbling stone steps that lead up to the castle, but Hannah is in no real hurry, a glance tilted back over her shoulder to see if the jay is following. It isn't.

"So, when's the next sermon gonna be?"

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