Tipping The Scales


bf_kara_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Tipping The Scales
Synopsis When faced with what could be a difficult conversation, Kara fails to anticipate how understanding Yi-Min can be.
Date April 11, 2019

Kara's Quarters

Sunken Factory, Providence

Both of their schedules have some volatility to them depending on what things need to be done, something which is perpetually changing thanks to the curveballs that have been thrown at them of late, but Yi-Min has nevertheless become accustomed to the patterns that Kara's tends to take — a shared familiarity with the nuances of each other's lives that has grown common to them both in the whirlwind of this past week or two. (It also does not hurt that they literally live within the same building.)

It is how she knows that the munitions chaplain has returned to her quarters after dinner, and where she seeks her out now, still bundled in a light jacket to ward off the chill of an early, misty April evening. By now, her signature knock is well-recognizable to the one beyond the door: a series of brisk, unhurried raps and then silence, wherein she places her hands loosely in her pockets as she waits.

At least while at rest, Yi-Min tends to be inscrutable to those who do not know her, but there is a certain weightlessness to her otherwise stoic expression that indicates she is in a relatively light-spirited mood.

"Come in," comes from the other side, rather than the door swinging open with Kara looming in its threshold. When it does open, the munitions chaplain can be seen dressing up rather than dressing down for the evening. Face washed away of the day's dirt, hair brushed and retied. She's garbed against the weather rather than in anything she might wear when taking shelter from it.

She glances up in the middle of retying her boot, giving a firm tug on the laces. "Hey," Kara says by way of hello. There's a lowness to her voice, one she takes on when on the autopilot of GSD after she'd already prefer to be stopped for the day. "I have to head back into town for a bit, probably be back a bit after sunset."

Sitting upright in her chair, Kara pauses in those preparations. "What's up?" she asks, the tone of the informal question sounding slightly odd from her by being vernacular she never really uses. She's normally the type to stick with brusque what is its or forward do you need somethings. But those are questions intended to cut to the heart of a matter quickly, and she's found herself stretching moments with Yi-Min however she can, like providing the opportunity to insert smalltalk.

On hearing the invitation, Yi-Min cracks open the door just enough to let herself in, straightforward but still in a manner suggesting she had not intended to be an intrusion. "That is fine," she notes as she sizes up Kara's preparations to leave. After a second, she eases herself casually against the archway of the door she has just allowed to fall closed behind her, briefly glancing down at her own layer of outerwear indicating that she had just come from outside herself. The square of silken scarf still looped neatly around her neck to deter the cold.

Her bare hands return to her pockets. She should probably invest in gloves.

"I have to return to the lab in a while. I just wanted to see how you were doing." It had been right on the way, is the biggest draw, and though Kara is not the type who needs checking up on, she had still felt it would be a nice thing to do in light of the snarl of issues that had cropped up lately.

"Find myself wishing I could split into two or three other people, but that's not unusual." Kara admits, palm of her hand rubbing across the thigh of her jeans in a slow scrub. "Thankfully, there's people to delegate to. The community is strong, ready to look out for itself. Everything's… coming together from a security standpoint." She sounds satisfied with that.

"Lot of hard conversations lately."

Her head turns, gaze lifting back to Yi-Min. "And you?"

"You've been doing good work," Yi-Min asserts, sounding legitimately pleased to hear the note of satisfaction in Kara's voice. Beyond this, it is obviously also good news to hear; preparation around here is an endless task if one only lets it become so. Their realms of expertise may not be the same, but she knows this as well as the other woman does.

There is a sympathetic pause after the question is returned that is also pondering in feel, as though she is trying to remember the phrasing of a certain word. The shade of a smile quirks her lips upward right before she gives her answer. "I am more or less the same as you. If it helps you get your mind off things, I heard something which may make you laugh."

Speaking of these previous topics.

“Someone in the factory mentioned that you were still calling me a snake. I thought: they were what, about a month too late, no? The things people in a small town will say. Perhaps it comes from having not enough entertainment otherwise." There is a low, amused gleam in Yi-Min's eye as she says this, and she adjusts the angle at which her shoulder is leaning.

At first, Kara says nothing, looking down to her other boot to adjust the lacing, pulling the tongue up and making sure the strings are taught before she starts the process of tying it off. "Now who said that?" she asks, not sharing the same amusement. Not in tone, nor in her gaze, not that it is currently pointed at Yi-Min.

Speaking of snakes, now that the association is broached, she can't help but notice that shift in the doorway, near-smiling as it is. It feels somewhat like a coiling, a tension before a strike.

At least, to the mind of the guilty.

Yi-Min's intention, of course, is nothing of the sort. Her posture is almost totally at ease, her head cocked very mildly at the lack of entertainment in the feedback she is receiving from Kara. "One of the workers who helps Lang sometimes," she replies back leisurely. "It is funny. He is the strong, silent type, very much not the type I would have taken for a liar. I know better now, I suppose— or perhaps he has been drinking too much."

Her grin curves wider now, and she lets her gaze angle through the lacing of Kara's boot without really paying attention to the process, pleasantly distracted as she is by the diversion at hand. After all, were these not the circumstances under which the other had originally called her a snake?

The thought may not originally have been alcohol-induced, but that certainly couldn’t have hurt, either.

Kara finishes her laces off with a hard pull.

"Everyone says things they don't mean to," she generalizes tersely. "Including Lang. Including me." Even though she's done, and doesn't immediately have anything else to put on, she still doesn't look back Yi-Min's way. Kara comes to her feet, turning to look across her well-decorated quarters, the yellow of which feels mockingly cheery to her at the moment. "It was a slip." she states, reaching for the vest she'll wear under her black zip-up. The holster still strapped around the arms of the jacket lying on her bed is empty, her sidearm on the desk.

Her humor has yet to improve as she starts to sling the vest on.

It is becoming harder to ignore the sullenness that this subject matter is apparently inspiring in Kara. Yi-Min had not, after all, assigned any blame; nor had she made even the implication of it. Contentment dissolving, she guides her shoulders and then the rest of her upper body off the doorframe, several light footfalls taking her out of the entryway and further into the rest of Kara's brightly illuminated room. Here she stands, arms drawing together and folding loosely across her small figure.

"So it was not a lie, then," Yi-Min expresses as she takes in what had been said to her, terse as it had been. There is a puzzlement to the way she says it, but it is still more to do with Kara's reaction. "But, so, it was a slip. That is alright. There is nothing to be forgiven in such a mistake.” Even if this one was a little more stinging by nature than others would be. Mistakes are mistakes, still, and this one will not kill her.

“Why are you so tense about it?"

Because it was a slip, but it was one engaged in purposefully.

Kara shrugs her shoulders to settle the straps of the vest, glancing back Yi-Min's way. Hands coming to adjust the lay of it, they pause as she considers carefully what she means to say. "Wasn't sure why you were bringing it up." she says, despite that having already clearly been said. Yi-Min had been trying to lighten the mood. So Kara lets her expression relax, some of her visible tension sloughing off of her.

"And also, because were I in your shoes, I'd be setting myself up to have…" She blinks slowly as she realizes perhaps that wasn't Yi-Min's goal, looks back to her. Her jaw works to one side before settling. Shit. No, perhaps she doesn't want to finish that thought.

"I'm not used to this," she says a moment later. "Not the vulnerability, certainly not the openness." Kara lets her arms simply fall to her side rather than move on to the next step of getting ready to go. "It seemed safer to pretend nothing was going on between us." Though some time, and a lot of side-eye had passed since then.

Whatever Kara is thinking, however Kara was going to finish that sentence, it can be seen by Yi-Min's countenance that she does not suspect what the rest of the words would have been. Such an intent had not occurred to her, and it would not. She makes no secret of studying the expression on the other woman's face now, her manner mellow and warm as sunlight, but also a little sad.

There are many legitimate parallels to be drawn between Yi-Min and the symbology of a snake, but in just as many other ways, they do not fit her.

"True vulnerability," she reflects much more gently, though also with just the smallest audible hint of reproach as she lets her own arms fall loose from the folded position she had just put them in, "is allowing yourself to care so much about what others think." There is no sense in it as far as she is concerned, but it is a gulf in interpretation between the two that she is struggling to genuinely understand.

A crack appears in Kara's shell, a small, stiff smile to accompany it. "Touché," she concedes, unable to offer up any argument. She can't help but notice the opening in Yi-Min's stance as she makes the comment, trying and failing to read into it. In comparison, she finds herself settling her hands on her hips as she works on making sense of it all.

She winds her way back to the beginning of the conversation. Yi-Min had stopped by to check in on her. And maybe it really was just that— no ulterior motive.

"Sorry," Kara finally says, something to both break the silence and give limited insight to her current thoughts. It does little to elaborate what she's actually apologizing for, but she doesn't get as far as voicing that. She's been tripped up after seeing Yi-Min's expression, the softness and the summer of it. She wonders only briefly at the warmth of it before she reaches out, brushing the backs of her fingers against Yi-Min's cheek to feel it for herself.

Yi-Min's hand glides up along Kara's wrist in response, slender fingers interlacing with the ones that are brushing her cheek, holding them there— just so, just for the moment. The soothing, contemplative quality of her expression does not change, but some of that pensiveness does blossom into the beginnings of a smile.

Perhaps there is nothing to make sense of. Perhaps everything is much simpler than Kara is making things out to be.

"Don't be sorry," she admonishes just before she turns her head enough to plant a quiet little kiss on the back of Kara's fingertips, mindfully aware that her assumptions of whatever the other is apologizing for are just that— but also willing to encompass every single one of the unknown possibilities and throw them all away. In the end, she does not really need to know what the answer is.

It does not matter to her, because she trusts Kara.

"…Just be."

The tension, however small it was, slacks in Kara's hand as Yi-Min slides her fingers into her own. The other woman's smile draws the moment out, bringing it as close to a still as time will allow. She takes it for all it's worth, tracing the curve of her cheek with a long look, eyes settling finally on her mouth.

Kara leans forward to place a short kiss there, wishing she had more than just that small act to give. "I'll work on that part," she murmurs. The matter of just being sounded simple. And perhaps it was.

It just involved a lot of unbecoming first.

But there again, perhaps there had been an additional motive to the visit after all.

Even though it remains a subtle, shaded, knowing thing, that smile of Yi-Min's is radiant after the treasure of the kiss given, tiny as it had been. "Good. Now, as long as I have you cornered, there was something else," she says with businesslike candor afterwards, not releasing Kara's hand from her gentle grip just quite yet. In an efficient motion, she unzips her jacket just enough of a distance to dip a hand into the breast pocket of the blouse beneath.

What she unfurls from out of it a few beats later is a long, gossamer-like chain, the pendant that is allowed to dangle from it catching an arc of light from the fixture above their heads as it shifts into visibility. Design-wise, it is a straightforward thing, but charming in effect— a transparent glass-blown bauble with the sunny, intricate whorl of a sunflower inside.

She lets her gaze rest critically on this for a moment, as though in judgment of it. "I spotted this at Red Hook last I was there. It is little, but I thought you might like it."

The comment about having her cornered certainly does nothing for Kara's nerves, her brow ticking down in a gesture of initial concern. She watches the quick motions, noting how Yi-Min continues to keep her held close with her other hand as she produces the object. Kara shifts her gaze rather than her face, stock still while her eyes go tracking the object that swings gently back and forth between them.

She blinks once, then shifts her gaze back to Yi-Min by the time a second one passes. Her other hand lifts, closing around the pendant to take it and claim it.

"I think," Kara says at no one's expense but her own, "You know what I think about most decoration."

"What I think," is Yi-Min's almost too-prompt answer to this, seemingly completely unfazed by the lukewarm quality of the response. "Is that you deserve better every once in a while than the gray and dull creature you like to act around everyone. Don't pretend you don't." Deserve nice things, that is. Another passing second, this time with a considering headtilt, and she adds to this: "You have sound judgment in most things, but this is one of the few areas where I can safely say it is severely lacking."

Exhibit A: the stark, sorry state this room had once been in before Yi-Min’s timely intervention. God, Kara Prince, live a little.

She takes the opportunity to let go of Kara's hand finally, though it is to close the other woman's fingers over the silvery coils expectantly. "Go on, then. Put it on."

Oof. Right for the jugular. As expected.

Kara's lips twinge in a small smile as she's soundly told off, either finding amusement or truth in it. Probably neither, and probably both. She lets her hands lower only so she can adjust her hold on that thin little chain before spreading it wide, letting the long necklace settle over her head and around her neck. It hangs low on her in its length, the pendant flush near her heart.

She lays her fingertips on it for only a moment, enough to make sure it remains settled as she tugs the zipper up on her vest, sealing the small item of decoration away underneath the drab forest green outerwear. "It's not an act, Yi-Min," sounds vaguely disapproving, but is delivered offhandedly. There might even be a comment that was meant to follow it, but she leans away to pull her zip-up from the bed, letting the holster fall back to the comforter. She'd bring her rifle with her instead.

After shrugging her way into the black jacket, leaving it unzipped, she pats where the pendant lies hidden under the vest. "I'll keep it safe," she states, only a little solemnly. Another small smile pulls at the corner of her mouth. "It'll be like taking you with me," is a very earnest thing to say at least until it's followed up by a teasing, "Just don't give me anything else to tote around. I'm not a pack mule, I can only handle so much."

"Well, I could have said grey and dull is what you are period, if you prefer that instead." But such an unkindness would also be untrue, however close to accuracy it might have been, which is the chief reason it had been left unsaid. Observe: never let it be said Yi-Min is incapable of being considerate.

There is a candid feeling of peace to her demeanor as she watches Kara donning the necklace, something which had not faded out entirely even during that little spell of doubts; now that the atmosphere between the two has subtly shifted once again, it has resurfaced comfortably into the background of things.

"Don't hide it away all the time," she suggests with total nonchalance when Kara gives the new location of the tiny object a little pat. Ostensibly she is just talking about the necklace, but. "It looks too nice on you for that, you know."

And then more banteringly, without giving Kara even a breath to think about this last statement: "If you can handle a gun that size, I don't quite think you have cause to complain about something so small."

When Yi-Min objects, all Kara can do is let out a soft sigh of amusement, shaking her head. "No, that's not what I mean, either." she clarifies, no argument in her voice. She certainly doesn't think she's grey and dull, either. Adjusting the collar of her jacket, she looks back to Yi-Min with a lifted brow. "How about we go to the city for a night out?" she asks lightly. "Soon, after…"

You know, the threat looming over them all had been disposed of.

At the banter, she lets out a surprised laugh, taken aback by the suddenness of it without being actually wounded by it. Kara considers for just a moment replying in exaggeration of her practical nature, to carry on the banter even longer, but she really should get moving.

And so she does, her arm hooking around the smaller woman's waist to drag her along with her to the door. "That way, we can both get what we want." Kara remarks smartly, leaning over to press a kiss into Yi-Min's hair.

"Not even a question." Another punctual reply. All work and no play makes dull girls of them both, despite any assertions from either to the contrary, and there is a conscious look in Yi-Min's eyes as she vocalizes this note of agreement: it is a future promise that she intends to see kept in some form or other.

There would be an end to the threat, after all, as well as future threats. It would be cruel if there was not.

Then she is laughing, trying uselessly to pry off Kara's one arm with both of her own as she is half-dragged, half-lifted towards the doorway, squinching her eyes shut with delight very poorly disguised by mock indignation when the kiss is planted on her head. "Put me down! I'll walk with you as far as the stables."

It may not be on the exact trajectory to the lab, but for the purpose of catching a few extra minutes with Kara, it is close enough.

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