Whatever Happened


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Scene Title Whatever Happened
Synopsis Two time travelers are reunited in the present, but one has unexpected baggage with her that she's not ready to deal with.
Date September 20, 2010

Gun Hill

Outside, the sun burns brightly and warmly, Summer's last attempt at reaching the people of New York before the all too familiar chill of Autumn sinks in to their homes and hearts. Venitian blinds drawn down shut out the light from the warmly painted apartment, chocolate brown walls serve to darken the unlit living room even further. A few thin slivers of warm goldenrod sunlight create vertical lines along the walls, across furniture, across the side of Colette Nichols' cheeks and the bridge of her nose.

Sitting with her legs pulls up onto the sofa, sweatpants and a loose long-sleeved shirt make he look like she just crawled out of bed, though that her hair is sopping wet indicates that she's more likely just freshly showered. Both ofher socks as Tasha's, their unusually matching nature an attempt to have something of the girl nearby. That she has one of Tasha's hooded sweatshirts pulled up into her arms and cradled like a blanket is another, sadder one.

There's a letter folded on the living room table, Tasha's version of Colette's own letter about traveling somewhere far away, somewhere dangerous, somewhere at the behest of Hiro Nakamura. Tissues, too, are scattered across the table, wadded up and used. That Colette's eyes are red and puffy is probably partly what they were used for, that her nose patches is the other part. She's done crying, after everything that's happened, but getting out and seeing the results of her own handiwork has simply been too hard, even for the six short hours she's been home for.

Tamara isn't in her bedroom, Tasha is gone, she can't face Sable or Elaine alone.

Having herself a good cry was a suitable alternative.

The sound of metal scraping metal might not be heard above snuffles and sniffles as key finds keyhole, the mechanism turning and the door squeaking slightly as it swings open. A weary looking Tasha enters, dropping the courier bag on the floor and shutting the door behind her quietly, as if to be careful of waking anyone who might be sleeping inside — they don't sleep normal hours here, and part of her hopes to find Tamara and Colette both snug in their beds in well-earned slumber, despite the fact it's sunlight out.

When her eyes find Colette's form, everything else is forgotten. If a heart could leap into one's eyes, it does, with the sudden swimming and flooding of Tasha's as she hurries from the door, through the space between kitchen and dining room, to come to her knees in front of the sofa, wrapping her arms around Colette without a word and hugging the other girl as tightly as she can for a long, breathless moment. Tears slide down her cheeks — some for what almost was, some for what almost wasn't, and most for what is right in front of her — and she rains kisses into Colette's hair before finally murmuring, "Are you okay? Hiro said you're okay, but… but are you okay?"

Colette is stiff for a long time, stiff and unmoving, her arms wound around herself and voice silent, as if she were asleep and unresponsive. Even then, Colette feels warm, she would eventually turn into a sleeping embrace no matter how tired she was. She's freezing cold, the cool temperature of the apartment and possibly an even colder shower has left her frigid to the touch, skin damp beneath clothing and hair undried.

Slowly, belatedly, she unwinds her arms from around herself and wraps them around Tasha. Vacantly staring down att he couch, Colette says nothing, just offers a weary embrace to the younger brunette, fingers eventually curling into the fabric of Tasha's shirt in a pleadingly tight embrace.

When Colette finally does reply, it's a full minute later, and her voice is hoarse and rasping in quality as she says, "No," and shakes her head. "No, I… I'm not okay."

"Did it not work? Did — I thought it was okay, I thought you fixed it," Tasha says, her tearful eyes widening as she looks at Colette. "God, you're so cold. Come on, baby, let's go get you warm," she whispers, standing slowly and tugging Colette with her, taking her by the hand to lead her to the back bedroom. There she pushes the other into the bed before retreating for a moment — it hasn't been cold enough to warrant more than a light comforter, but Tasha's mother insisted on buying heavier blankets for the winter. She goes to the closet, stepping on a box to reach the top shelf, pulling down a thick velour blanket and bringing it to the bed and shaking it out and over Colette, then pulling the comforter over her. Next, Tasha kicks off her shoes and slides in, wrapping her arms around Colette and rubbing her arms through the hoodie, trying to get the blood circulating on the chilly skin beneath.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she whispers, finally, knowing that talking might be the last thing Colette wants to do, but she steels herself to hear the worst. "I'm here, okay? I'm here. We're here. Tamara's fine, we helped her, it'll be okay, okay? Whatever happened, it'll be okay. Even if it isn't right now, Colie," she whispers, as if speaking in a normal voice might be too much for the fragility of the coltish woman in her arms.

Silence and stillness, Colette has in abundance today. No answer is forthcoming, even after the blankets are wrapped around her and she's leaning against Tasha for support. Bringing her wet hair down onto one of the girl's shoulders, Colette exhales a sigh and closes her eyes, swallowing tightly as she buries her nose against the side of Tasha's neck.

Once more her arms find their way around Tasha's waist, and once again Colette's answer is prolonged in its belatedness. "I— I don't know…" she helplessly whispers, "Hiro— said it worked. I was— I don't remember much at the end, it— " she cuts herself off, slowly shaking her head. "I haven't gone t'see if Sable's okay yet. I— I can't— " there's a tightness in Colette's voice as she makes a soft, squeaking sound in the back of her throat.

"I can't," is more pleading than informative. Whatever happened while Colette was gone, it was terrible.

Sable isn't the person that Tasha is most concerned about at the moment. "Okay. It's okay. I think she's okay — I haven't heard anything saying she isn't okay, baby," the smaller teen says, softly, kissing Colette's cheek and stroking her wet hair, considering getting a blow dryer to dry it to help warm Colette.

"We don't have to talk about it, not til you're ready, not til you want to, but you know I'm here, I'll be here when you want to talk to me, I'll be here if all you want to do is lie here. I'm sorry I wasn't here when you got back, honey, I'm so sorry…" Her tears spill warm and wet against Colette's neck as the tears come, even as she tries to be strong for the other.

She shivers, the cold from Colette's body bleeding into hers rather than her warmth fueling the other, it feels like. "Tell me what you need. I'll do anything you want, Colie. Do you want me to go check on Sable now? Do you want me to call Nicole, or Judah? Whatever you want," she repeats, her words rambling, saying whatever pops into her head to soothe the other.

"No," is croaked out as Colette whimpers softly against the side of Tasha's neck, shaking her head from side to side. "Please, please not Nicole." Voice cracking when she begs that point, Colette squeezes Tasha tighter, hiccuping a sob against the warm skin of her neck, tears warmer than the beads of water clinging to her hair. Sniffling noisily, Colette curls her cold legs up in Tasha's lap beneath the blanket, crawling up onto the girl and holding herself close, desperately so.

"I'm— I'm so sorry I— I wasn't there for Tamara when she needed me," sounds more guilty than is possible. "I— I shouldn't have— I— I should— I'm— " breaking down entirely, Colette's shoulders shake and the sound of her ragged sob against Tasha's shoulder is muffled by her shirt and part of the warm blanket that she's wrapped in.

Tears draw more tears and Tasha shakes her head when Colette apologizes. "God, no, no, Colette, don't be sorry, you didn't do anything wrong, darling, it's okay," she murmurs, her hands stroking the strands of wet hair away from Colette's wet face, then wraps her arms around Colette as the girl climbs onto her.

"Shhhhh, baby," she whispers again, unsure of what to do, besides murmur reassurances and hold Colette as tightly as she is. Once before, she sang to soothe the other, and the idea occurs again — tonight, the only song that comes to mind, due to her repeated murmurs, is "Baby Mine" from Dumbo, which she sings softly in a voice that's racked now and then with tremors, thanks to her own efforts to not bawl. Tears stream down her face now and then, but she manages not to sob as she tries to be the rock that Colette deserves and needs her to be.

It's a long while before Colette stops crying again, a long while before she calms down enough for anything resembling a conversation. In the time between, intermittant moments of silence between ragged crying defines the time that Colette and Tasha share, no words spoken, just the sound of Tasha's song and the attempt to keep herself together. Colette affords Tasha no such comforts, just an emotional breakdown now that she's comfortably in the arms of someone she trust and loves.

By the time Colette's crying ha sstopped, the lines of sunlight in the living room have traced a lower pattern on the wall, then dipped down to the back of the sofa like an analogy to the sun setting behind the horizon. In their bedroom, dim orange glow is tracked across the wall in near horizontal lines between the blinds, but wrapped up in the blankets as they are and now laying down rather than sitting up, Colette and Tasha pay less heed to the passage of time, and more attention to the passage of emotions.

Tangled up in Tasha, Colette has one leg wrapped over the young woman, one arm beneath her shoulders and the other wrapped around her waist, head resting on Tasha's chest, eyes shut and breathing calm. For a long while she just listens ot the sound of Tasha's heartbeat, just lets the dampness form her hair sink into the younger girl's shirt, just lays there and enjoys the moment of comfortable peace.

Eventually, after several repetitions of the song, Tasha stops singing, matching her breathing to Colette's. Her lips fall on the other girl's head, lightly, before she merely rests her cheek on Colette's damp hair. Silent tears stream down her cheeks intermittently, but she manages to keep her breathing calm and quiet, trying to keep the agony she feels hidden from Colette, knowing it will upset Colette all the more to see her distraught — a vicious cycle of empathy.

"I love you," she finally whispers, unsure if Colette is even awake anymore, but she is willing to hold her in this position forever if she needs to. Even if her limbs fall asleep, she wouldn't shift if it meant disturbing a second of Colette's peace. "Forever."

"I love you too," comes as a whisper from Colette, her voice weary and sore sounding. Exhaling a sigh against Tashas shirt, Colette looks up across her chest towards the brunette's face, then away to the rumple of blankets they're tangled up in. "I… need some time," is Colette's diplomatic, yet tired truth of the situation. "I— a— a lot happened, and I just— I don't know… I need to see Sable," is offered with a hushed tone of voice, though not with any sense of urgency, she seems inclined to go nowhere

Through all the silence and the whispered intentions, Colette's eyes shut and her grip on Tasha remains just as firm as it was before. She's not sleeping, she won't be able to do that for a long time yet to come, probably because of the source of her next question. "What… happened to Tamara?" It's a hypocritical thing to do To not talk about her own experience and yet request the same of Tasha.

There is a quick swipe of her face as if Tasha can wipe the tears off her own cheeks quick enough, but she presses a kiss to Colette's forehead once the girl closes her eyes again. "All the time you need. I'm not going to make you do anything you don't want to, okay?" Tasha whispers. She has been there. They both have, much much too often.

She swallows and shakes her head. "This lady tried to grab her on the street with … with like, cables, from the concrete. We got her away. I … she came in a cop car? I managed to get in the car because Ygraine made her think she threw a grenade by throwing shoe polish or — I don't even know." She blinks, and giggles a little hysterically, the nerves of the stressful ordeal finally catching up to her. "Oh, my God, I stole a cop car. I mean, it was already stolen but… God, I hope my father never finds that out. But then, Judah was there, too, so you know, it was sanctioned by a detective."

Tasha strokes Colette's hair, tucking the wet strands behind tiny ears. "Whatever happened, Colette?" she says in a smaller voice, "and you don't have to tell me — you did the best you could, with your loving and giving nature. It was so much for them to ask of us — so hard. I don't know what happened, but I know that it wasn't a sure thing for us, at all. I didn't know what to do, and I was so scared, and Judah almost didn't get in the car, and Tamara was hurt, but she lived…."

Another tear slides down her cheek traitorously as she tries to reassure the girl in her arms. "Whatever happened, it's better than what might have happened if you weren't there, right?" she whispers.

Judah, Ygraine and Tasha. The fact of her own father's involvement in what happened makes things harder to deal with somehow, makes the entire situation all the more unbearable. Tamara was in danger and Colette wasn't there to help her. It eats away at her, silently, even as she slides her leg off from Tasha and moves her head up to rest more comfortably at the brunette's shoulder.

Silent for a long while, Colette presses a kiss to the side of Tasha's neck, then hides her face away against the brunette's shoulder again. It doesn't seem like she wants to talk about anything any more, let alone the events of Tamara's life she wasn't there for, or that Tasha was in danger and she couldn't have helped her at all. Guilt on missing that series of events, for the sake of — what — a harrowing visit with her mother? It doesn't sit well with Colette.

"Whatever happened, happened."

It's the closest Colette has to an opinion on both of their journeys.

At least that she'd say aloud.

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