Sun and Shadow


wf_finn_icon.gif wf_tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Sun and Shadow
Synopsis Roommates experience the highs and lows of life in the Outer Districts and under the effects of negation.
Date April 10, 2017

Heartland Village, Outer District

“The sun’ll come out, Tamara! Bet your bottom dollar that, Tamara, there’ll be sun…”

Finn’s voice is jovial, pleasantly on key, if a little strained, as he comes through the door. The repurposed song lyrics are a tired joke, or should be, but he makes it anyway because it amuses him.

Leaving the door open behind him, he waits, awkwardly holding his wrist to his chest; the joint is swollen, already mottling an angry purple. The palm of his hand is skinned as well, no doubt where he put it out to break a fall.

He falls a lot.

“Probably not, actually,” he says, still waiting at the door. “Looks like more rain. I never thought I’d miss New York rain. I mean, rain’s great, sometimes, but here it used to make everything smell bad, you know? But I miss feeling it. Or I guess the idea of it.”

Inside the small apartment, Tamara starts at the lyrics drifting through the walls, thinner than anyone would like them to be. She stops in the act of dishing out Cuban-style black beans and rice to eye the front door — and then the man who comes through it. "Hi, Finn," she greets in a tone that skirts the edge of diffidence, a match for the reserve in her expression.

That hesitance is banished by the sight of his injury. "Your hand!" Tamara exclaims, setting the serving spoon in the pan and taking a step away from the counter — but stopping short before she takes a second. "Um. Is there something I can get to help with that? …Ice, maybe?"

She's not sure what to say about rain, so in the face of a more immediate concern doesn't say anything at all.

Once his name is said, Finn closes the door behind him, smile taking up most of his broad face. “Food smells good,” he says, before glancing down at his hand and letting go of it, turning it to examine it, before he shrugs.

“Ice, sure. Or a bag of frozen peas. That’s what we used to use back in Chateau Shepherd in the day. It’s just a sprain, I’m pretty sure. Missed the curb,” the accident-prone man says, moving toward the kitchen area and the freezer in particular. His jeans also sport a hole in them from where he fell to the street, a skinned knee hidden in the shadows of the garment.

“How was your day, sunshine?” he asks, opening the freezer door to peer inside.

Finn reaches the freezer before she can even start moving in that direction, so Tamara leaves him to his own injury care. As she resumes filling the second bowl of food, she casts periodic glances his way, clearly concerned and wanting to be of help. Realistically, she recognizes she'd probably just get in the way.

"It's more like half a bag of peas," she says, a bit apologetically, as she carries the dishes out to the table. The other half patently having been included in dinner. There's two places already set, drinks poured. Once her hands are free, Tamara takes a small notebook from the pocket of her cardigan, flipping it open to the ribbon inserted between its pages. "Umm… it was fine, I guess? I went for a walk earlier and there was a patrol all bothered about something. I didn't stick around to find out what."

“I heard something about a group of people on the other side with coded signs or something, but that’s just a Tuesday,” Finn says, finding the half bag of peas and molding it around his wrist, then moving to sit down at the little table, wincing a bit as sore joints bend.

He smiles at the dinner laid out in front of him, and says something he likely says every day. “I’m glad you don’t forget how to cook. If it were left to me, we’d have nothing but spaghetti or ramen or sloppy joes every day.”

Which is, of course, why it’s not left to him. That and he might set the little apartment on fire, accident prone as he is.

Taking her seat, Tamara smiles across the table. "Well, the kitchen's different, but cooking isn't, you know? And it's not like I try anything complicated." Beans, stir-fry, soup, burritos. Only slightly more involved than spaghetti, really.

She takes a drink of her cola, first, before picking up her spoon. "Spaghetti's not a bad idea," she muses. "Maybe dinner tomorrow? You could do the garlic bread." Or buy it. It doesn't much matter which. "Good to have on a rainy day, too," she adds, glancing out the window and then back to Finn, expectant.

Finn’s green eyes follow Tamara’s to the window; his gaze hangs there for a moment in a rare wistful look, at the sky and its promises of rain that won’t reach them. When he looks back, it’s with a fond smile, if a bit forced. “Spaghetti sounds good. Yours is better than mine, anyway.” Most of her cooking is.

“Make a list of what we need and I can pick it up,” Finn offers, before he sighs and looks back to the window. “There was this show a few years back. You probably don’t remember it. There were spaceships. It was cool.” He smiles, the boyish grin he gets when he talks about the things he fanboys about — which is a big list. “And the theme song said ‘You can’t take the sky from me.’”

There’s a rare flare of anger in his eyes as he looks back, but it fades quickly enough. He takes a bite of beans, perhaps to distract himself from his own bad mood. “This is good.”

"I'll do that," Tamara promises, promptly reaching for the pen that is constant companion to the notebook and writing in a line. After, she follows his gaze out the window, not sharing whatever view it is he sees. "Firefly!" she declares in cheerful recognition. "Marcus likes the show a lot. I think it's fun," she adds, punctuating the statement with a small gesture of her spoon. Not a fan, the woman herself, but familiar.

"There's the movie, too. It just c… ah." Tamara stops short as what she's about to say catches up with where she is. Where she isn't. Looking down at her bowl, she occupies herself with her food, in similar manner as Finn although for different reason.

It isn't until Finn speaks that she looks up again. "Thanks," she says with crooked smile.

Her recognition — something that doesn’t always happen with his various allusions — earns her a broad, happy smile. Finn practically bounces in his seat, eager to talk about the show before her own enthusiasm slips away as she catches up to the present. His smile fades and he watches her, brows drawn together in a mix of sympathy and worry.

“Serenity,” he says after a moment, smiling again. “It’s great, but a little sad, so if you didn’t see it, don’t, because you can live happy in a universe where the whole crew is together and awesome and you don’t need to know otherwise.”

The good thing about spoiling anything for Tamara is she won’t remember it later.

“But if you want to see it, I can probably find a DVD of it somewhere,” Finn adds. “This guy at work has the biggest movie collection I’ve ever seen. He lives just a few blocks over. I bet he has it.”

Lingering over a mouthful of beans and rice, Tamara contemplates Finn for a long moment. Swallowing, she points her spoon at him. "It sounds to me like you'd rather watch the series. So how about you see if he's got that, instead?" She flicks her hand sideways, and with it the spoon. "We've both seen it before, but it's good for rewatching, right?"

Her suggestion draws from Finn another kind of smile, a softer thing than his eager grin, one borne of appreciation and fondness for her empathetic and insightful nature.

“The series is more fun,” he says. “The movie — it’s great, but… what’s it called when you win in the end, but there’s a big loss so it kinda doesn’t feel like a win? Something with p, I think. It’s like that. And I probably project myself a bit into it, the way it happens. So I don’t like it.”

He is a pilot, after all.

“I’ll ask him. Anything else you want me to see if he has? He’s got a motorcycle that needs fixing. I can barter with him if I need to.”

Tamara smiles back at Finn, nearly a grin, good humor clearly restored. "Pyrrhic," she supplies. "But don't ask me where the word comes from. All I know is it's Greek."

It's not important, either.

At Finn's offer, she takes on a thoughtful look, pressing her lips together and leaning back in her chair. She gives the idea serious consideration, then shakes her head. "Nah. If you do get something else, how about something I haven't seen?"

There's a great many options there.

Finn snaps his fingers on both hands, then points at Tamara in a flourished display of finger guns. “That’s it. You’re like one of those people who never lose on Wheel of Fortune. It could have my name up there missing a couple of letters and I’d still get it wrong.”

“Nothing sad, though,” he says after a moment when she tells him to get something she hasn’t seen. “Only happy endings for Miss Tamara.”

Their world is bleak enough as it is without watching a depressing movie, Pyrrhic victories or otherwise.

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