This Is(n't) Home


kara_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title This Is(n't) Home
Synopsis On today's episode of Home Improvement: Kara's sad room gets a much needed facelift.
Date April 3, 2019

Sunken Factory, Kara's Room

When Kara had agreed to let Yi-Min brighten up her living space, she hadn't expected too much would change. She anticipated the addition of some flowers, perhaps something being hung from the walls. Specifically something that reminded one of the outdoors, given the lack of natural lighting in her room.

But no— furniture was being moved now.

She didn't realize how much it would bother her until it was an action already underway. Yi-Min had begun without asking, likely as she had a plan, and even more likely because she knew Kara would object.

The munitions chaplain might as well have her hands physically tied behind her back for how helpless she looks as the smaller Taiwanese woman has her way with the room's arrangements. What's worse is she's not even reorganizing, she's moving things out of the way to do something to the walls. Paint, wallpaper — she doesn't even know, what with half the things that have been brought back.

"Yi-Min," Kara starts patiently, trying to avoid sounding like she's pleading with the stubborn woman. Though, her supplications have gradually become more insistent. "Please, do you—"


Red Hook Market

"—really think that's necessary?" Kara asks with a look of vague disenchantment, head tilting at the latest object Yi-Min has brought back to the truck.

She'd let the woman roam the market on her own while hanging back to mind the vehicle, something she was starting to regret. The latest piece in particular was making her consider throwing a tarp over the bed and leaving it to luck that no one helped themselves to what was in the back.

"Of course I do," or some blithe variation thereof has been Yi-Min's inevitable reply, each and every time. It is possible that this is the first time Kara has seen her so openly cheerful: her normally much more poised demeanor has been replaced by impossibly serene smiles of rambunctious inspiration.

There are in fact methods to the madness, beyond the first and most important one which is quite simply not to listen whenever Kara presses her to stop. The current item cradled in Yi-Min's arms is a vibrant spray of pressed flowers inside a rather handsome wooden frame (hand-carved, at least according to the relevant vendor. Whether true or not, it is nice looking).

"—So, this will go perfectly with the burnt oak of the coffee table we are getting you. Do you see? Rustic but pretty, as you are. The styling suits you perfectly." After brandishing this in Kara's face so it can be clearly seen, Yi-Min marches directly beneath the much taller woman's nose bearing this newest acquisition towards the steadily growing mound of items in the truck, not unlike an extremely content worker ant.

This had been an ongoing pattern all afternoon.

"Listen. We're going to make your dreary shithole of a room beautiful."

Something about Yi-Min's demeanor makes her untouchable while she's in this state, but just because Kara had not yet reached a point where she'd physically get in the other woman's way doesn't mean she won't bemoan just about everything that's happening.

It's all very well-meaning in its doing. Practical, even.

"There is literally not going to be enough space in the truck, much less space in my dreary shithole for everything you are carting back," she points out unhappily, crisply, very determined with her logic.

Kara has always appreciated those who favored being forward over being coy, a stance that has changed little over time. Yi-Min's rapidfire bursts of truths and opinions are assaults she barely has time to shrug off before the next hits, though. Is there a thing such as too much forwardness? She'd possibly tell you, except she's drowning in it too much to be a good judge right now.

Frowning abruptly as the smaller woman brushes her way past again, Kara asks, "Why is it you look so—"

Present Day

Sunken Factory, Kara's Room

"—happy about this, way too happy about this." Kara remarks, just barely holding in a sigh. She's given up any fighting, for now at least — and is actually standing with a wooden frame between her hands, holding it up against the wall just so. They lack a level to appropriately judge any placed item's crookedness, so they're doing things the old-fashioned way.

Somehow it's Kara holding the frame, rather than the one doing the judging.

She adjusts the angle ever so slightly to the right as directed, glancing over her shoulder at Yi-Min pointedly rather than asking for the third time if the placement was right. The heel of her hand presses firmly into the yellow-base wallpaper that she'd helped smooth down just before noon.

"No, that's too much. Back to the left a little— it's still not directly in the middle." Standing with arms folded officiously across her chest, Yi-Min surveys the ongoing procedure with an air of larger-than-life regality as she squints to ensure that the frame ends up being placed just so.

Of course, the easy answer to the question that had been asked would be to claim that this had been an enjoyable and needed break after the stress of preparing for Yamagato's gala. It would be semi-truthful, also.

It would also be too easy.

"Why not? Don't you think you're worth it?" Yi-Min asks innocently. Very innocently. "Besides, I hadn't been joking about before. It’s less a huge, empty shithole now, and more a real home."

It is hard to deny this. Slowly but surely, Kara’s quarters are getting there. Though the room itself is far from finished in multiple respects, the softly-patterned yellow wallpaper is already making the large swathes of temporary negative space look far more homely. This is what she surveys now with a roving, placid gaze, mostly to visualize again in her mind’s eye how she feels certain items would be best situated.

A single, disgruntled note is all that comes from Kara, her retort being silenced before it can clear the back of her throat. She did not find renovations like this to be a question of her own worth. In crass terms, that would be stupid. Keeping the space clean, working — that was far more a reflection of her own person.

Still, she adjusts the frame an inch or so to the left.

"This isn't home," she finally says, the opinion sounding decisive and immutable. "When the Remnant move on, all this gets left behind." And indeed, she'd left a number of things behind in the move East. Out there had been home, or close enough to it. There was no 'if' saying this might become home, not this time. Kara sees it only as a matter of when, and in regards to moving on.

Still, she moves aside the frame, marking the wall with the finger of one hand while she sets the frame down. She exchanges it for a hammer, and sets about putting a nail into the wall. She'd moved the frame several times, at Yi-Min's direction, back and forth over the same few inches — this is close enough.

"I prefer to spend my efforts on actual homes, like the ones the settlers have here. Less of a waste of time that way." Kara shares while tapping the nail down.

"And this isn't a shithole," she finally fires back, looking lazily over her shoulder and gesturing loosely with the hammer. "This was orderly." Was, being the operative word. It was currently under construction. Good thing she'd been keeping a cot in the armory — this might be a multi-day affair.

While Kara is putting aside the frame in favor of a hammer, Yi-Min sits herself down on what tiny amount of space is available on the corner of the bed: the rest of the top is cluttered with a mostly-unsorted pile of furniture and smaller curios. She gathers one of these now, a set of heavy bookends in the form of carved pumas, artfully rough-hewn; she also arches her brows over at the blonde while she is doing so.

"You are wrong, in so many ways," is how she chooses to put this, still mercilessly cheery, although her volume is gentler now than the words. "Not to say it will never happen, but I know the Remnant has no plans of moving on from here. Yours is an actual home, and you may as well make it one."

The bookends are shifted aside so that they aren't so daftly balanced on the back of an upturned pot. "Shithole may have been a strong word, but look at all of this! So much space you were doing nothing with. It will be orderly again, also. How does your saying go again? You can have your cake and eat it, too."

Yi-Min is referring to the state of the room, of course, but it seems that she may mean it to apply in a more general sense too. Kara may be a practical grump for the ages— and that is precisely why she needs someone to step in at times and fill in where she lacks.

Plans or no plans, it would have taken her more than the few months they'd been out here for her to accept their semi-permanence. Even though Kara herself had put a fair bit of effort into relationship-building with the community, she never had firm expectations regarding the length of their stay. Now that she thought about it, she was treating coming to Providence as though it were a deployment rather than a full move.

She takes a moment longer than necessary to admire the frame after hanging it while she considers that realization.

"Hm," Kara remarks after the examination both internal and external. She turns back to Yi-Min after. "Well?" Does it pass?

It is a realization regarding Kara's mindset that Yi-Min had arrived at far earlier than Kara herself had managed to (really, it had been kind of obvious), and there is a tiny knowing smile on her face as that moment of hesitation hangs in the air.

"Well, what do you think?" Yi-Min inquires sunnily, coming up to stand directly next to the blonde as she studies the positioning of the frame. "It's your room, after all. The important thing is that you like it." The irony of saying this in light of her overly aggressive style of redecorating someone else's quarters does not escape her, but she cares! Really!! It is why she had bothered to ask about Kara's preferences in the first place.

Also, the fact that she doesn’t have anything in the way of outright contradictions confirms that yes, she does approve.

Yi-Min can continue to think that, anyway.

Kara stands back from the frame, keeping her focus on what's been done so far rather than the mess that's left to still complete. A micro-level concession to Yi-Min's encouragement to live in the moment. She turns to the shorter woman, considering her next.

"It'll do," she reports mildly, neither sounding unenthused nor enthused about the ongoing updates. With a slight tip of her head to the side, she asks, "What's next?"

It's not a thank you, but it's the closest thing she'll get.

Several hours later

It is done.


Through hours of work measuring, adjusting, hammering, hanging, lugging furniture about, more adjusting, and large dollops of brisk judgment dotted throughout (this last one from Yi-Min, naturally) well into a steadily darkening evening, the two have managed to put together something that even the crotchety Kara might learn to admire.

Kara's once-spartan room, somewhere between all the ordeals of yesterday and today, has been metamorphosed into an inviting bastion of warm, semi-autumnal colors and comfort. Coziness, even. Between that wallpaper, the framed pressed flowers, new oaken fittings everywhere including a new trunk and desk, a duo of proud bear statuettes, and a mason jar full of freshly picked foxgloves sitting by the head of her bed, Kara has her desired reminder of the outdoors in this space— and then some.

There is surprising extra spaciousness as well, thanks to Yi-Min's earlier directives to move certain furniture around to encourage more of this sense. The old, plain shade once stuck to the ceiling has been unceremoniously trashed as well in favor of a geometric glass-and-wood shell, bestowing a brightly lit and more well-aired feel to all corners of the room.

Now: all of it is less a decrepit fragment in the forgotten carcass of a pre-Second Civil War glass factory, and much more a scene cut straight out of the pages of Country Living.

Yi-Min claps her hands together, creating a very small cloud of dust which she promptly waves away. She is tired, that much is clear, but it is that exultant kind of tired which breeds a weary contentment in the bones.

At this point, it doesn't even matter so much if Kara feels as she does about the project. With all the uncertainties to face them in days to come, the physical and mental diversion itself had been a welcome one.

She cocks her head, addresses the other without looking. Asks a familiar question, tinged with more of a low mellowness this time around. "Well?"

Yi-Min might not look at her, but Kara does at her, a soft hmph of amusement escaping her while her eyes warm. Her face either doesn't bother changing its expression out of habit, or because she's too worn for that. The cloud of dust kicked up from the other woman's clap is amusing to her, evoking the image of a bull pawing stubbornly at the ground.

She looked like she was ready for a whole 'nother round of this.

"'Looks…" Kara muses, resisting the urge to shrug as she turns to behold the space. To shrug would be to demean the efforts they've both put in. Besides, her shoulders were too stiff for it by this point. The skies had darkened with twilight the last time she'd poked her head out, moving out the footlocker that had been replaced with a proper trunk.

"Homey," she's forced to concede, a hint of appreciation creeping into her voice. If not for the decor, then for the thought put into it.

The entire exercise had been akin to buttering a cat's paws, and here they stood at the end of it— yowling ceased from both the person applying it and the stubborn ass receiving it.

"Orderly," Kara adds, an additional sign of her approval. There were a few loose items still needing placed, books needing shelved — she graciously overlooks them.

Coming from someone like Kara, this is high praise indeed.

Yi-Min will take it.

These more minor alterations are things that Kara can take care of on her own, also, and this is something that Yi-Min knows well. The lion's share of the work is done; the rest might as well be considered done as far as she is concerned.

"I'm glad you think so," she says dryly, cheekily, radiating one last audacious little smile before she turns a narrow shoulder towards the door.

"—Because you'll be living in it for a while."

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