Steamingly Rancid?


cat_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Steamingly Rancid?
Synopsis Ygraine receives answers to her enquiries about her missing friend. She offers kindness, but Cat offers hope.
Date December 21, 2008

Le Rivage

A comparatively large and well-maintained apartment occupying one corner of its floor. Windows dominate two sides of the living room, illuminating it brightly throughout most days. A kitchenette occupies one corner of the lounge, while several doors offer exits.

Luxurious but slightly worn brown leather furniture is arranged around the television in the main room, with a small dining table and high-backed chairs diagonally opposite the kitchenette. Wall-mounted shelves and stand-alone cases take up a lot of space along the walls, almost wholly filled with books. A collection of full-size geographic, political, and historical atlases have been given pride of place - though academic texts on history, international relations, conflict theory and linguistics are also prominent, alongside a fair collection of DVDs. The one sizable decoration is a blown-up photograph of mist-shrouded Edinburgh castle at sunset, a black silhouette rising out of white and luminous gold.

Of the exits, one (with an extra lock, deadbolt, and a sturdy chain) leads out of the apartment; another to the bathroom; and the next to a small room that has been converted into a rather cramped home gym. A computer desk, filing cabinet, and a single bed take up most of the space in the next room, while the last is the master bedroom - dominated by a double bed (upon which sits a two foot tall cuddly penguin) and more bookshelves (these holding a jumble of magazines, art books, Neil Gaiman graphic novels, and a collection of science fiction and historical novels), with a clearly well-traveled laptop resting on the bed-side cabinet. Here, high-quality art-prints of dragons decorate the walls, while a small cabinet holds a collection of cycling trophies.

Though the block is nowhere near as luxurious as Dorchester Towers, Ygraine has one of the nicest apartments, and a fair amount of money has clearly been spent on the furnishings - and the extra security. To get in, Ygraine has to unfasten multiple locks, and there are more precautions that can be taken once the heavy door has been pushed shut from the inside.

At the moment, however, Ygraine seems intent on ushering Cat inside as quickly as possible, thereafter to divest herself of the obstructions and burdens of helmet, gloves and jacket. "Drink? Dutch courage, caffeine, or something healthy", she offers in the midst of that process.

"Thank you, but no," Cat answers politely as she waits just inside while the gear is divested. Her eyes begin to wander, taking in details about this new place and storing them all by default, like anything else in the past several years. "Thank you also for inviting me."

Ygraine moves to perch on an armchair, waving a broad invitation to the rest of the seating before starting to haul off her boots. "Grab a seat, if you want", she suggests, voice tight and expression worried.

"I… I can stand," Cat answers. She does it again. That slow and deep intake of breath, followed by release in the same fashion. Nothing is said while the hostess is removing her boots, but once they're off her voice returns. It's hushed, laced with the sense of loss she herself feels. "She's gone, Debater." Just three simple words to convey everything.

Ygraine winces, gulps, and nods weakly. After a moment, she realises that she's holding a boot in one hand and lets it thump onto the carpet, where it slowly topples over. "She didn't make it?", she asks quietly. "I… would you like a hug?"

"I couldn't save her," Cat replies quietly. She realizes the Briton thinks the death happened at a hospital, given that she'd spoken of them being taken away in an ambulance, and she could let it be that way, but… No. She won't lie. Not that she'll tell the whole truth either, but… "It was murder, I believed she died on the nineteenth." She doesn't say anything to accept or decline being hugged.

Ygraine finishes wrestling off the other boot, then rises and pads towards Cat, several emotions warring with each other on her face. "You… in the hospital?", she asks, voice low.

"It was a kidnapping. I was released," Cat replies softly, standing there with her eyes closing for a moment. "Dani wasn't." When the eyes reopen, she continues speaking in that subdued voice. "We know who did it, and the matter is under Federal investigation. There will be justice for her murder." Her jaw sets, of this she seems supremely confident.

Ygraine blinks, coming to a halt in front of Cat. "I… crap. I… I should've got the police onto it sooner. I left it too long. I just thought… oh God, Cat. I… what can I do?"

"It's okay, Debater. You can't blame yourself for any of this, nor can I. The fault belongs entirely with her murderers." Those words are softly spoken. "There's nothing to do but remember, and be glad we knew her while she was alive. She wrote me a message before she died, it was gotten to me. Had some instructions in it, for how to go forward in life. And while it's hard to honor her wishes right now, I'll get there. I've been coming to terms, letting go of guilt."

Ygraine offers Cat a nervous, grateful smile. She reaches up to the other woman's shoulders, squeezing lightly. "Thank you", she murmurs. "But… I was actually asking what I could do for you. If there's anything I can still do for Dani… ask. But the living need my help more than the dead. Those… the victims of evil are motivation for doing what can be done to help others against it. I'll mourn her - greatly. She was probably my first real friend here…. But of all people, the crusading journalist's not going to want anyone to wallow and hide."

"There may be more, Debater," Cat replies in a voice taking on a bit more strength as she speaks. "I've been cooperating with, aiding, the Federal investigation. The details I can't really share, and I might never be able to. But if I can, I will. Justice will be served, her memory and her wishes honored as best I'm capable of meeting them. For me… just be a friend, an ear to listen when or if I sometimes need it."

Ygraine nods slowly, biting her lower lip. "Sure. Normally, I might crack some joke about Jen getting jealous - but I can't imagine her being anything but supportive, Cat. Christ. I've got good reason to believe that the world's a steaming pile of rancid horse-shit, but even so…. It wasn't her employer that did it, was it?"

"No," Cat replies. "It wasn't the Linderman group." She pauses, a slight smile settling onto her features for a ghost of a second. "Jen? You found someone," she concludes, "and… you're not straight." That's one she hadn't quite expected. "The world isn't a steaming pile of rancid horse waste, Debater. I've got hope, still, even after this."

Ygraine blinks, then laughs, blushing brightly, latching onto the latter part of Cat's reply. "Yeah. I… well." She swallows. "You honestly didn't know? Maybe I wasn't so obvious as I'd feared. Jen apparently didn't notice until I asked her out. And that was _after_ picking her up and carrying her in my arms. Dani knew, though. And… I was very glad to know the hot lesbian couple. Gave me a bit more courage while trying to work up to asking Jennifer."

As the Briton speaks of her relationship, a slight smile forms on Cat's lips. It's slight, but present, and doesn't fall away quickly. Her eyes focus on a wall, images come up from her vast memory. A face is seen, Dani's face, and the hamburger wrapper appears too. But she focuses on just part of it, the words written there.

I won't ask you to remember me. I know you'll do that. But remember the good things. Remember the good times.

"Dani was the lesbian," Cat replies with a quiet chuckle. "I'm bi. It had been there over the years, I felt the attraction, but never let myself pay attention to it until she came here. We didn't have much time, but it was good." She hasn't, however, made the connection yet. Jennifer is a very common woman's name.

Ygraine chuckles sheepishly, then takes a half step back and gestures another awkward invitation towards the comfortable seating. "Neither myself nor Jen are exactly sure we're gay. We're each the other's first girlfriend. But…." She shrugs awkwardly. "As a result of some of that steaming rancidness, I wasn't exactly sure I'd ever be able to trust someone enough for a relationship again. Discovering that I really wanted to trust Jen… that helped me to consider some options I might not've done a couple of years ago. And, fortunately for me, she's kind of open-minded."

"Life can be unpredictably short," Cat replies as she settles into a seat. "When you find someone who makes you happy, cherish it. That's the best I can say, really. As to what labels you put on yourselves, that's totally yours. You know the truth inside yourself, know the physical attractions you feel or don't feel, the emotions that go with them. Just… be happy." Those instructions on the wrapper flash again in her mind.

Find someone else. Live well.

Ygraine chuckles softly, detouring to the kitchen to pour herself some cranberry juice. "Oh, I'm pretty sure that I'm bi. And so's she. It… it wouldn't really have occurred to me that I'd ever take things this far, a few years back. Certainly not that I'd be the one to initiate a relationship with a girl." She returns to her seat, bringing the carton and a spare glass back to the coffee table - and with them, a framed picture of the young Miss Galloway. "That's her, in case you ever bump into her", she says. The shot is of a professional standard, a monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait.

She's listening as the Briton speaks, focusing on a wall as the woman goes for her cranberry juice. The eyes move over when she returns and settle on the photo. Her head tilts and a grin forms. "She's hot." Cat doesn't comment on knowing her, because she has to figure out just how she'll explain that without giving away anything Jennifer knows but hasn't shared. Inspiration flashes a moment later, in keeping with the theme applied earlier. "I've seen and talked with her before. I was wandering around the Columbia campus and saw her. She helped me find where I needed to go."

Ygraine chuckles fondly. "Oh, she is. I'd always assumed that if I went for anyone, it'd be a tall athlete… but apparently I was wrong…." She lets her voice trail off, taking a sip before cocking her head. "Why were yourself and Dani targetted?"

"We came across information about a faction with aims I can't speak about," Cat replies softly. "The details are part of the ongoing Federal investigation. They have to stay secret, and beyond that I don't want to burden anyone with knowledge they don't need to have, Debater. I… I just love and miss her. I'm sorry I didn't come to see you sooner. It's taken me some time to get it together. I remember things so much more fully than most, and grief hits harder. Our apartment, I think I'll keep it, but I'm going to make my home somewhere else."

Ygraine sighs and nods, then shakes her head. "If… we've a spare room here, if you'd rather not be on your own. I… I was partly wondering if it was your sexuality, or anything else. I know that the guy I followed into her room at St John's thought that Dani might be Evolved…"

"I've got no siblings," Cat muses quietly. "Been alone before, and can do it again, really. I've started looking, for now I'm checking out the hotels of Manhattan. Money isn't really a problem for me. Thank you, though, for the offer, Debater. I… she wasn't Evolved. Nothing ever manifested with her. Sometimes she felt substandard for not having anything like my memory, but that never mattered to me. Always just Dani, the longtime friend I met at Yale who became my lover." She focuses on the wall again, going quiet, with a smile spreading out slowly, as if she were replaying some pleasant memory in her head.

Ygraine nods slowly, biting her lip and taking another, longer drink. She resumes studying her companion as she waits for Cat's attention to return to her, expression deeply troubled and sympathetic.

It doesn't last long, Cat turns her attention from the wall and to the hostess. "I was remembering a good time. Doing what she asked me to."

Ygraine quirks a sad little smile. "I'm glad. Me… I've yet to figure out a real use for my ability", she ventures, voice tight.

"You will, and if you don't, it is what it is," Cat replies. "I remember everything. There are a lot of things I'd love to forget, but they stay with me just as fresh as if they were just five minutes ago." She stands, and turns toward the door, then back toward the hostess. "Thank you for being a friend to me, and her, Debater. Make yourself happy. Don't dwell on other things."

Ygraine laughs weakly, setting down her glass and rising to her feet. "I try to dwell on the bad to drive me to avoid it being repeated", she says with a lop-sided smile. "This… this'll be hard, even for me. But I'll try. And… if you ever need anything, let me know."

Her arms open to encircle the British one for a moment, then open as Cat steps back. "See you, Debater," she replies wistfully, then she's on the way out to meet the snowy streets of Nuked York again and reflect on a very odd weekend.

Continuation of A Display of Trust.

December 21st: A Display of Trust
December 21st: Bad Influence
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License