Something Wholly Theirs


berlin3_icon.gif brynn_icon.gif emily2_icon.gif joaquin_icon.gif

Scene Title Something Wholly Theirs
Synopsis While dinner's on, Brynn helps Emily and Nathalie seize the moment. Because you never know when you'll get another chance.
Date January 1, 2019

The Lanthorn

Emily pawing at her phone screen wasn't unusual whenever she was over, but she seemed to have a particular nervous energy about it tonight. She'd been keyed in for a bit when she first arrived and set the New Year's arrangement out, stayed in the kitchen to watch the proceedings and see about helping where she could. But then an idea had flickered in her eyes and she'd gone some place for a number of minutes, tuned out entirely to the world around her.

She's still in that fog, at least partly, as she abruptly asks, "Chimo?" and lifts up her phone just a little bit higher. Emily's brow furrows as she turns out the screen in his direction. Two images are side by side, very similar. "Which one of these looks better, you think?"

She looks past him to Brynn, signing with one hand with the bit of Cant she's sparingly picked up. Come look at this? she asks, looking a little anxious.

Sight and sounds of chopping are prevalent in the kitchen as 'Chimo' preps vegetables for the roaster. Satoru gardens co-op growers have been generous to trade with, this holiday season. From his vantage, Joaquin glances up towards Emily when called. But as he's unable to make out the images from his point, he sets his knife down and comes over, wiping his hands on a towel draped over a shoulder. "What's that?" he asks as he peers.

Brynn was helping in the kitchen but she's done with her part and keeping an eye on Emily, if only because she looks… weird. When the other girl asks her opinion, she raises a brow and lets Joaquin pass through the door first to take a look before she takes a turn. Her gray eyes are thoughtful as she looks at the images.

Emily doesn't have enough Cant for her to use the shorthand for her question, so she sticks to the standard ASL. They're pretty, she offers. I didn't know you were even thinking about tattoos.

“It’s, um…” Emily’s short burst of confidence in showing out the two images falters when the extra effort is required for Joaquin to come closer, arm lowering. “Nat and I were talking about getting tattoos, and—” She manages a short shake of her head. “It’s silly, but, I was thinking maybe something like this. But, uh… I just wasn’t sure.”

More hesitantly she tilts the screen back out in his direction. “I kind of like the one on the left better. More color.”

Nathalie appears in the door of the kitchen, leaning a shoulder against the frame. There wasn't any warning that she'd arrived, just her sudden presence. She greets everyone in the room with a smile— a rare show of warmth from her. She hasn't mentioned to anyone, mostly because she didn't actually know for sure until recently, but her birthday is just a day away and this gathering is exactly the kind of present she wants. Even if they don't know.

"What are we looking at?" she asks as she reaches to grab a small handful of Chimo's chopped veggies.

Tattoos. Joaquin’s face perks with curiosity and hesitation. Something he’d never considered, for sure, but it casts a whole new tint to the conversation. “I like the one with color, too,” he continues the train of thought aloud as he bends closer to the screen to make out the details. His head turns at Nathalie’s entrance, and he waves her closer to the gathered. “Tattoos for you,” he supplies, “and Emily.”

“Wait, do you two have any since you joined, um, joined SESA or Wolfhound? Do they make you… Because it’s like, an initiation thing?” All of a sudden, Joaquin looks uncertain of questions. And he’s maybe internally glad that his signing in either Cant or ASL is bad enough that maybe Brynn won’t press him on what his flailings mean. They’re just flailings. It’s fine.

Brynn offers Joaquin a soft smile. For all that his signing is crap, he's probably the sweetest of her 'siblings' and he tries really hard for her when he's around. She looks back toward Nathalie because the conversation to someone behind her alerts her to the presence, and she grins at Nat. I love them both, but the one on the left pops a little more. Her signs are easily read by both as she steps sideways to include Nat. Do you want to do them the old-fashioned way, or are you gonna let me have at them?

Emily starts. Nathalie's here. She turns the phone back into herself, seeming super-ready to just gloss past this and sit on the topic for an indeterminate period of time before bringing it up again— but it's too late. Everyone around her is more honest and open than she is by a long shot. "Definitely not, Chimo," she chuckles, an attempt to sound casual about all of this. "I'm just an intern at SESA anyway. It's not like it's the *real* thing," Emily insists, even if it basically was. She's not sure the agency has been around long enough, anyway, or drives a strong-enough loyalty to merit traditions like tattoos on entry.

The smile she shoots Nathalie is nervous, and reluctantly she parts from the range and countertop to go place the phone on the kitchen table instead, only the one photo showing now. "I've been thinking a lot about things we could get— something to symbolize things that are just ours." And by extension, something belonging to only Nathalie in the sea of memories and experiences she hosted within her. "And… I can't lie, I ended up shooting most ideas down when I was searching because it all kept coming back to like… I don't know, black and white in some way, so I was like fuck that, but…"

Emily glances over at her sister a bit nervously, one hand hanging off the side of her neck. She's feeling incredibly self-conscious about all this, forgetting to keep up with her signs in her hasty explanations. "And then I thought about when you tried to get us all together, to be a family."

It hadn't gone well, necessarily, but she and Nathalie had done their best to play at things being normal even after the proverbial table had been flipped that night. They had talked for a long time while sitting in a sea of Chinese food.

They'd slowly worked their way through little boxes of rice and noodles and meat just like the one displayed on the screen of her phone.

Emily looks to Brynn with a small smile, her hands beginning to work in tandem with her spoken thoughts again. "I was hoping maybe you'd help us do these. We weren't sure if Nat was going to… be able to handle getting a tattoo the usual way." She looks back to Nathalie as she glosses over the complexity of that reason, but also to see if she thinks the proposed symbol is ridiculous or not.

Nathalie looks between the three of them, her eyebrows lifting once it's clear what's going on. Her gaze falls to the phone, then back to Emily. She doesn't really need to explain her choice, not for Nat, she remembers that night and how it fell apart. And how her sister stayed with her, even so. So many people in their lives are wrapped up with one Conduit or the other. But Emily is one of the very few connections that is wholly hers.

She takes in a breath, sniffling just a little before she gives a nod to the idea, to the image. Words come after she's taken a moment. "I love it." Another nod follows, because she's not sure what to do with her emotions. Ultimately, ignore them.

"Emily just hasn't gotten to the branding stage," Nat says to Chimo, her smile returning for a moment. "They stick their logo on you so they can tell you from an imposter. Just in case." Yes, this is easier to deal with. She even lets Emily handle recruiting Brynn, for the most part, just adding in a nod or two to prove her support for the idea. She doesn't elaborate on why a traditional tattoo might not take. Later, maybe.

Joaquin frowns with uncertainty at Nathalie like maybe she's being both coy and serious about the branding stage. What does he know, right? But after a short pause to think, he dismisses the notion with a shake of his head. Ridiculous! … right?

"If it's something to bring you two together, as a family, you should definitely do it," he eventually says with an approving nod. His smile wanes only a touch, and he leans in for a closer look at the picture. "So which one of you's the noodle and which one's the meat?" It's a lighthearted tease to push away Emily's nervousness, while any complications about Nathalie's ability to get a tattoo grazes over the top of his head as he looks over at Brynn as well. After another pause he glances to the women, "Is it okay, if I, um." Can I watch?

He ducks his head, cheeks flushing when he realizes how awkward that just sounded.

Brynn looks absolutely delighted with the trust they're placing in her. She claps her hands with glee and nods enthusiastically to Joaquin. Sure! Then she looks at the other girls. Well, depending on where you want them, of course. She wouldn't just give blanket permission of they're planning doing something in private anatomical locations. Sibling ink has lots of locations, though — a lot of women use ankles, wrists, shoulders, or even neck. It won't take but a couple of minutes…. you want to do it now, before dinner?

The benefit of her ability is if they don't like it, it can be removed just as easily too!

It's sudden, but exciting.

Emily looks less overwhelmed by that when Nathalie voices her approval, a breath of relief leaving in her in silence and lessening the building tension in her shoulders. Bryan's offer to give it a shot within a couple of minutes is met with a nod, along with thought. "Yeah, um…" She glances up at Nathalie, like the thoughts won't actualize otherwise, "I was thinking somewhere visible? That way it's there when you need it, you don't have to go digging or looking very far…"

She lays a hand on the inside of her forearm to indicate where she was thinking. Emily lays her thumbnail out on her arm, sliding it up to get an approximate measure of inches. Two and a half? Three? Her gaze pops over to Brynn with an inquisitive lift of her brow.

At least until she grins, belatedly, at Joaquin. "What?" she asks on a bewildered breath. A faint laugh trails it. "It's symbolic of an event, not of us, you weirdo."

"The arm," Nathalie says as she reaches over to ruffle Joaquin's hair, "will be perfect." Nowhere private needed. And Emily is right that she needs it somewhere easy to see, if it's going to do its intended job. "If you're up for it, Brynn," she says, making sure to turn more fully her way, "I'm game for doing this right now." She looks over at Emily, but seems pretty confident that her sister will be, too.

"And you can stick around, Chimo," she adds. She does not say he can watch, but only because she can't even handle that phrasing right now. "Just don't make Brynn laugh or who knows what we could end up with." That's a tease, too, but in an effort to make him feel more at ease, rather than any actual worry.

She reaches over to squeeze Emily's arm. Reassurance, gratitude, excitement… it's hard for her to pin down the exact mix that's running around her brain, but she knows her happy moments have always been few and far between. And this is one of them.

Joaquin ducks his head, but the hair ruffling is inescapable (mostly because he's not trying). "That's not what I— I know, I was joking," he replies in mild apology. A hand swipes through his hair again, inevitably causing it to ruffle again. The note to not make Brynn laugh taken, he settles down at a short distance away on the kitchen island. Elbows rest on the cool countertop, and he leans with head canted to a side in observation.

Not a problem. Brynn grins at both of the girls and gestures them to take seats. She takes the phone from Emily so that she can really see the image, and then she grabs her sketchbook. Sketching it out helps her get a good feel for the actual perspective, and it also means she can tweak it here and there in places they want it adjusted. When they're finally happy with the image, the tattoo itself takes only a few minutes on each girl. Brynn sets her hand over the spot and just concentrates for a few minutes, and voila!

She winks at the sisters and signs, Magic!

Emily holds up her forearm to the light like she expects it to gleam. But no, it's dry, because it's not ink. There's something special about that— something that makes it more than skin deep. It already feels right, like it's a part of her. The smile that comes over her is sheepish, almost against its will. It's a rare thing, coming from a place of warmth.

Of happiness.

"Pretty fucking cool, huh?" she asks Joaquin, turning the completed work out for viewing. No jokes, no ribbing, she just wears that grin that becomes more powerful the longer it goes on.

Turning back to Nathalie, her smile softens without losing any of its brightness. "Now you've got something that's only yours," she says in a murmur.

Except it's not just for Nathalie, or just for Emily.

It's a symbol of the unbreakable bond shared between them both.

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