You Can Be Pissed Off About It


nora_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title You Can Be Pissed Off About It
Synopsis Nora and Rue go for a walk beyond the castle's walls. It's a very unlucky day for a very unfortunate snowman.
Date January 17, 2011

Pollepel Island: Bannerman's Castle

The name Bannerman's Castle is as deceiving as its appearance; built stone by stone more than a century ago, the now crumbling fortress, seemingly derelict, was in its glory days used as a military surplus warehouse and still carries the faded words Bannerman's Island Arsenal on one of its walls. Time and neglect have since taken a hefty toll on the property, which belongs to the Maxwell Development Corporation in name, but is in reality much more than a prized relic.

On the outside, ivy creeps up its walls, some stripped down to skeletal supports and others as strong and stalwart as the day they were erected. In the decades that Pollepel Island has been abandoned, nature has reclaimed a large portion of the castle where its roof has caved in, creating courtyards of stone and saplings, thorny bushes and wire fences put up to section the most tangled hollows off. A few have been cleaned up, exposing worn stone floors that serve as gathering places for the people who live inside the ruins, and where the walls are tallest, shielding one open cavern from the mainland's view, there is a metal drum to burn fires in and large chunks of stone arranged around them in a circle.

Inside, Bannerman's Castle has been repurposed by the Ferrymen network as northern stronghold with its own electrical grid powered by basement generators, though most of the castle is lit by gas lanterns and candles to conserve fuel. Tall ceilings reinforced with wooden rafters are a feature in almost every room, including the castle's dining hall and the basement kitchen where food is prepared on outdated stoves and ovens taken from restaurants on Staten Island that were abandoned in the wake of the bomb and later repaired and refinished for installation in the kitchen.

Also in the basement are the fortress' supply rooms, which are kept under lock and key and contain everything from cured meats to additional linens, firearms, ammunition and fuel for the generators that power Bannerman. The living quarters and infirmary are located on the ground floor in the corner of the castle that's most intact, and while the narrow corridors are drafty, a lot of time and effort has gone into insulating the rooms themselves as best they can be insulated with what supplies were available and fit the budged allocated to the network's reconstruction efforts.

It's just after most of the breakfast crowd has dissipated to do the day's chores, lessons and business, though some remain scattered about at tables, reading the days-old newspapers and thrift-store novels one of the boat runners had brought back a couple of nights ago, sipping coffee or tea, talking quietly. Nora has been kicked out of the infirmary for the day, told she can visit but not sit and stagnate there hour after hour.

So instead she sits at the table stagnating, a cup of coffee in front of her on the table, and the guitar on her lap. She idly strums at it, though she's lost her pick and her injured finger tip makes it difficult to play. The sunglasses Rue gave her are on her head, but not over her eyes. Someone had thought to pick them up from where they'd fallen on the boat, but they are, sadly, scratched — a cosmetic issue, since it won't hinder Nora's sight any more than it already is.

Nora feels the extra weight drop down next to her at the table in the shifting of seat and the rush of displaced air before Rue ever speaks up. "Hey, Nora." It's rather glum for Rue. "You wanna go for a walk? I totally want to go for a walk. But I need arm candy, so you have to come with me." She's already dressed for the weather outside, in a knee-length coat, gloves on her hands, and snow boots. "Pleeeeease?" I'll be your best friend seems the natural follow-up to that, but Rue abstains. Thankfully.

Nora looks up out of habit or politeness, and offers a tired smile to Rue. She seems hesitant, but then finally nods. "Sure, okay," she murmurs, carefully pulling the guitar strap from her neck and lifting the instrument to set in the case, aligning it carefully by touch so she doesn't scratch its sides.

She picks up her coffee cup to have one last swallow, then swings her legs out to put her boots to the floor, fingertips trailing along the table's edge to guide her around and orientate herself toward the door. "I just need to grab a coat. You okay?"

"Having kind of a rough morning," Rue admits. "Here, may I carry that for you?" She doesn't presume to reach for the guitar all nestled into its case until she's given permission to do so. "My ex plays guitar." Quinnie plays a lot of instruments. "I never learned. I feel like I should have. I took up dance instead. Not that I'm very good at that, either." Sounds like rough morning doesn't scratch the surface.

"I heard you broke Abigail Caliban's nose. I think that's awesome." Nora can almost hear the wince that immediately follows. "I mean, awesome that you can pack such a punch. You're so pretty and petite. But you're really a powerhouse. That part's awesome." There may be a smile to those words. Rue's tone hints at it. "Too bad Abigail found out the hard way."

"Oh, it just stays there," Nora says with a nod toward the corner. "It's not mine. It's one that someone brought over, and others might play it… I don't know. I think I'm the only one who does. I'm not very good at it. I only started learning like a year ago, but I've played piano for a longer time."

Nora does wince at the mention of Abby's nose, and she shakes her head. "Anyone can pack a punch. It's not about strength really but about angles and letting your body's momentum do the work for you. Except I wasn't trying to punch her. Bad hand-eye coordination, I guess you could say."

The last is punctuated with a bit of a mischievous smirk, Nora trying to cheer Rue up a bit. She angles them out the door toward the living quarters, fingers trailing along the walls but walking at a much faster speed than in weeks past.

Rue isn't certain she's allowed to laugh at that joke, until she glances over and sees Nora's smirk. She lets out a quick breath of laughter and nudges the other girl's shoulder gently, careful not to disrupt her memorised path. "See, though? You do know how to throw a punch. I'm pretty sure I'd break my hand. I could probably kick someone, though. At least until they got wise and grabbed my leg and sent me flat on my ass."

A couple of winding turns bring them to Nora's room, and she slips in to grab her coat, gloves and hat — a task that takes a little longer than it should since she can't see them, and hasn't quite gotten in the habit of always having things in a preassigned place.

Coming back out, now dressed for outdoors, she chuckles. "I'd offer to teach you but that would probably land you in the infirmary or something. But you can do it. It's just a matter of making the right moves instinctive. I've kinda been learning for my whole life, but… a lot of people can pick it up really quick," Nora says with a shrug. "At least enough that you're not an easy target. The biggest thing is not to be tentative. If you hit, mean it. If you kick, mean it. Don't try to just hurt them. You have to try to disable them."

"I need my pretty, pretty face," Rue confirms with a nod Nora can't see. "I'm a model," (part-time,) she supplies, "so my face is kind of my bread and butter." She bites her lip and thinks on what Nora says, though. "You seem to know a lot about how to fight. Did you grow up in a really shitty neighbourhood?"

"A model? Wow. I don't think I've ever known anyone who's done anything like that," Nora says quietly. "Now I'm going to feel all plain Jane next to you and have to cry at night that I'm not as pretty as you." There's that playful smirk again, though if it's at her own expense or at Rue's it may be hard to tell. Perhaps both.

The questions give her pause, though, and she exhales. "It's New York. Of course I grew up in a crappy neighborhood. The whole city's a piece of shit," she says, reaching up to pull her scratched glasses down and over her eyes though they're still a few yards from the door to the outside world. "I had a lot of teachers, though. Some official, some not."

"Girl, no. You are gorgeous. You remind me of the girl who beat me out for the Registration job." She says it like she was somehow second choice. That's probably not at all accurate. Rue shakes her head, "You're way prettier." Gloved fingers fluff the back of Nora's dark locks, "Oh, the things I could do with your hair." There's a quiet sigh, "I'm not actually a very successful model."

Rue's footsteps can be heard jogging ahead of Nora so she can open the heavy doors for her and let her step out into the courtyard. "Beauty before age," she murmurs playfully. She falls quiet as she considers Nora's account of how she grew up. "I grew up in Chicago, so I kind of know what you're talking about there. I first came here… In 2006. On a modelling contract." Her tone falls flat at that. But at the mention of the year, it's not hard to guess why. The cold air only seems to punctuate the further drop in Rue's mood.

Nora snorts, and shakes her head, one gloved hand coming up to brush her hair out of her face as if in an afterthought. "I probably look like Helen Keller going around with her hair in tangles and her face all dirty most of the time. I never really cared much about makeup and clothes and that kind of thing, anyway, though." A beat. "No offense if you do, I mean. I guess models have to."

The topic of 2006 is stepped around. She lifts her chin slightly, taking a deep breath of brisk air — she hasn't been outside since returning from the boat trip the other night.

"Yeah. I'm kind of paid to worry about that stuff. My guilty pleasure is designer jeans, but I usually just wear tee shirts and hoodies around. Not like high fashion or anything." Once outside, Rue takes Nora's hand and places it in the crook of her arm. "You promised to be my arm candy," she reminds, if only to exonerate herself from the fact that she's leading the blind girl.

"So, I have what's probably a dumb question, but I'm gonna ask it anyway…" Rue lets her voice trail off for a moment, giving her companion the time to mentally prepare for whatever is dredged up from the promised depths of idiocy. "Is Benji your brother or your boyfriend? I mean, you guys are obviously close. I just can't tell what kind of close. My hetdar is wonky as fuck."

The question gets a raise of brows that barely show over the dark sunglasses, and Nora chuckles. "Hetdar?" she asks — clearly not having heard that expression, and not quite savvy enough to figure it out, apparently.

"Benji's neither," she says, with a shrug. "We're friends. Why, do you like him? I mean, he's gorgeous and all, but… I don't think he's in the market for a girlfriend. You know, just so you don't… get like, your heart set on him." She chews her lower lip a bit, worrying it as she apparently worries about Rue's glum mood.

Rue actually snorts with laughter when Nora tells her not to get her hopes up. "Hetdar. It's like gaydar, except for heteros. So, I take it that I'm right about how fabulous that man looks in a scarf, huh? Oh, good. I could use some more pride around here." Pride.

A hand overlaps Nora's as Rue gently guides her to alter their path slightly, winding to their right. "I wasn't sure about him. I haven't seen him make eyes at anyone, but I think I overheard your friend - the blo-" Does Nora know that Howard's blonde? Yes, she decides. "The blonde one. I… forget what his name is. I haven't seen him around for a while. Anyway, I think I heard him call Benji the f-word once." Not the four-letter f-word.

"Oh!" Nora chuckles a little and her cheeks color just a touch at being slow on more than one point. "Sorry. I hope that didn't offend you. I mean, me making assumptions. Or, for that matter, Howard making slurs. We tend to apologize a lot on his behalf, but — you know. He's gone, so if that offended you at all…"

She trails off, then sighs, clearly not happy that Howard's gone, even if he does get in a lot of trouble — and probably drags the rest of them along with him.

The shrug of Rue's shoulders is felt in the way the muscles in her arms tense beneath her coat and Nora's hands. "I think I'd get along with Howard if I had the chance to get to know him better," she assures.

There's a heavy sigh as her thoughts turn to what's got her so gloomy this morning. "Have you met the new girl yet? Shirley? She's apparently got this ability that breaks anything more complex than a hand-crank can opener."

"'Meet' is probably a strong word for it. I was on the boat that went to meet them, but I was a little distracted due to Benji being conked out and barely conscious when she came on board," Nora says quietly.

"She's just a kid, right?" the seventeen-year-old asks a moment later. "Did she break something of yours?"

"No. Fortunately I had warning. I took my watch off and everything." Rue's wearing it again now, however. "I brought a bunch of my comic books back from my apartment after I was out on the mainland with Miss Simms and Miss Rowan." That didn't go at all according to plan. "Kind of for communal entertainment, you know? I thought Shirley might be bored, so I grabbed a good assortment and took them over to her."

Rue watches another huff escape her lips as a fine vapour she can see in the morning chill. "I thought she might be a little scared and loney, all things considered. She's only sixteen." Implying that Rue doesn't think Nora is only seventeen. She's a different breed of girl in the ginger's eyes. "So I was talking to her, trying to get to know her a bit, and I asked her if she had left a girl or boyfriend behind back in the city, since, you know… I think that's a valid concern for most kids her age, right?" She pauses, allowing Nora time to either interject with a question, or just digest.

The blind girl listens, letting Rue lead her on the walk, trusting her, it seems, to warn her of any obstacles as she doesn't toe the ground carefully with each step like she might otherwise. "Sixteen's relative," she says quietly. "Some sixteen year olds are still just kids. Some are capable of more than some adults. I don't think I was much different a year ago than I am now … except, you know." She gives a vague gesture to her eyes, shielded by the glasses.

"What'd she say?" Nora finally asks, bringing the discussion back to the current subject.

"You're extraordinary," Rue agrees, squeeze Nora's hand gently. But the good cheer lasts only a moment as she comes back around to what's got her down. "She got all defensive. Told me she wasn't into girls, which is fine. But then she said The Bible says it's wrong." It isn't terribly difficult to guess why she finds that upsetting. Nora can practically hear Rue's lips pull into a frown, or maybe a pout.

"Oh." Nora frowns, mouth pulling down, brows crinkling behind the glasses. "Yeah, well, she's going to be a lot more open minded if she is going to live here. Or she'll just need to stay in her room forever, with that attitude. I don't think you could throw a ball in there without hitting someone who might fall on that side of the spectrum."

Her hand squeezes the arm it's hooked around. "I'm sorry. Do you want… do you want someone to talk to her about it? I don't know if I'm the right person, but, well. Maybe someone like Barbara or Abby?" Someone with authority. Someone actually Ferry, rather than just one of its wards.

"I don't know." Rue is definitely pouting. "I don't want to sound thin-skinned. It's not that I'm not used to hearing about how I'm going to go to hell because I think pussy is way better than cock, couple it with being Evo, but… I didn't think I would get that here."

There's a sniffle that could be an emotional thing, or just the cold weather making her nose run. Either way, Rue falls silent for a couple moments. "Can I tell you a secret, Nora?" The issue isn't whether or not Rue thinks Nora can keep a secret, but whether she cares to play the secret keeper for her.

For a couple of moments the only sound is their breathing, white puffs of breath disappearing into the white sky above; their boots crunching through the snow. "You shouldn't have to deal with that here. This should be a safe place… physically. Emotionally. From hatred. From bigots," Nora says very softly.

She sighs, her own sigh more edged with anger. "Hell would be better than anywhere someone who says such things is going, right? I'll go with you. It'll be a party." Her lips curve into a smile though there's still tension in her posture, in her face. She squeezes Rue's arm again. "Go ahead."

"Cheaper cover and better bands, right?" Another sniffle. "We'll do tequila shots together. It'll be great." Rue glances down and then halts Nora a moment. "Just a sec." She disengages herself and the blind girl can hear something dislodged from the snow, and then apparently tossed aside again. "Tree branch."

Once they're moving again, Rue divulges, "My best friend is getting married. Samara. To Brian. I told her I'm really happy for her, but… I'm not." And she sounds really dismayed about it, too. "Aren't I supposed to be?"

Nora's hands go into her pockets while she waits for her path to be cleared, a slight scowl at needing it to be cleared — accepting help is still not easy for the independent girl. When Rue returns, she listens. "Oh. I … I don't know. I mean, I can think of a lot of reasons not to be happy. Worried for one… it's really quick, isn't it? I'd be worried. That she'll end up hurt somehow. And if she's your best friend, I can see you feeling like you might be replaced, a little? I mean, I don't think that's the case, so if you weren't worried about that, don't!" Nora frowns. Advising others on relationships isn't her strong point.

She sighs, frustrated at her inability to say the right thing. "Anyway… there's not really a supposed to be, I don't think. Your emotions, whatever they are, are not dictated by etiquette or tradition or anything like that. You're entitled to feel what you feel — just like you're fucking entitled to like who you want to like." This is said more fiercely, the anger from before returning.

"She used to need me," Rue laments. "For four years, I was all she had. I was the only one who could see and talk to her. And now…" She shoves her own hands into the pockets of her coat. "She doesn't need me for anything anymore. She goes to Brian. And, I mean, why shouldn't she? He can be everywhere and anywhere she needs him to be, right?"

Her footsteps stop. The darker girl can't see the way paler Rue stares down hard at her boots in the snow, but she knows it when she tips her head back and shouts at the sky. "It's not fair!" A pair of birds erupt from their perch in a tree. The woman sags and sniffles without any fear of what Nora will think when she realises she's crying. "I went into the mental hospital because I was the only one that could see her. But then she told me I was Evolved. That I clearly could see dead people." Now Rue doesn't know what it is that she does. "I lost the woman I loved because I told her about Samara. And now here she is, corporeal for a month and she's got this fairytale."

Rue Lancaster isn't just broken hearted. She's bitter.

The flutter of bird wings taking flight makes Nora duck, one hand coming up to protect her face before she drops it with a flush across her cheeks at the unreasonable fear. Her brows knit again as she listens to Rue, and she nods.

"I'd be upset, too," she whispers finally. "I mean, I'd try to pretend I was happy for her, but inside, I'd be upset. Hurt. Jealous. Confused."

She swallows, hand squeezing Rue's arm. "Have you told her all this? I think … it might help. To talk about it. It won't fix it but… I'm sure there's some things she could use a friend for that Brian can't do. Everyone needs friends — even if they have something more, too."

"How can I tell her?" Rue asks, defeated. She leans into Nora a little bit. "How can I tell her that I'm jealous and I think she's making a huge mistake? She hasn't had a life for four years. Which is, I think, why she's doing this crazy marriage thing. But… Brian seems to care about her. What if they really are perfect for each other and I'm just too near-sighted to see it?" Making the comparison to eyesight makes Rue wince at her words. At least she didn't say too blind?

"I think she needs me to be happy for her. I'd want her to be happy for me. But I feel like even though she got screwed by her ability, even though it saved both our lives, I'm the one who got the short end of the stick." Rue's hands clap at her sides, an exhausted gesture. "Does that make any sense? I feel so selfish. I just… feel like I lost everything because while she got to go on through life as though she was dead, I had to keep living for both of us." This time, her fists beat against her thighs angrily. The pounding is less impressive muted by her puffa jacket than it would be fists to denim, but it's there and the intent is audible. "God, I'm such a bitch."

"Not a bitch," Nora says, her hands going to her pockets to let Rue pound out her angst physically. The younger girl bites her lower lip and then shakes her head. "Not everything happens at the same time for everyone. I think… to be honest? Twenty — you're like 20, right? And Samara, too? I think that's a little young, really, to get married. I can't see myself getting married or like… promising myself away to someone forever in the next couple of years, and I'm not that much younger than you. And she hasn't… she hasn't had enough experiences, you know? Even more so than a normal 20 year old… she's kinda like… still 16, right? If the only person she's seen in four years is you."

She shrugs. "You're not a bitch. You're entitled to feel bad about it. Life sucks sometimes and it's not fair, and you can be pissed off about it. I know I am."

Another pause. "Would it help," begins a very mature suggestion, "to build a snowman and then beat the shit out of it?" When in doubt, take it out on an inanimate object. Poor Frosty.

"I'll be twenty-three next month," is admitted miserably. Like Rue is somehow way behind because of the age gap between herself and her best friend. "I'm going to die alone. Sami's going to have Brian, and Quinnie's going to live happily ever after with her wall-crawling, married girlfriend, and I am going to die alone." Ah, the melodrama.

At Nora's suggestion, Rue cracks a little smile, tugging a handkerchief out of her coat pocket to wipe her nose. "That sounds like an awesome idea. Can you teach me to break a snowman's nose?" The handkerchief is tucked away again and tears are wiped away by gloved fingers.

"Maybe I won't die alone. I'll at least have good friends like you." Rue drops down into the snow, already beginning to start forming the mound of snow that will become the base of Frosty the Punching Bag's body. Her eyes twinkle as she tilts her head back to peer at her partner, somehow more worldly than she at only seventeen. "Is Hannah single?" Despite the cherub-like features someone may have told Nora that Rue possesses, her grin and tone are decidedly devilish.

Nora snorts. "You are sooo old, you spinster. Clearly, you're past your prime and will wither and die without ever meeting anyone," she teases as she bends to start balling together snow as well, perhaps for the middle section, rather than trying to help with the base she can't see.

"To be honest, I don't know. We don't really do the girl talk thing, you know?" Nora says with a shrug. "We're not really girl talk kinda girls, right?" is added with a small smirk. More snow is packed onto the ball until it seems to be about the shape and size of a snowman's thorax, and she begins to roll it over toward Rue.

Well that news perks Rue up the barest bit, even if it's not the answer she hoped for. Because there's another answer to a question she didn't even ask. "Do you think I have a chance?" She rolls the base through the snow in a serpentine path until it's large enough to sustain the midsection of their snowman, pushing it in position to hoist Nora's bit on top of hers.

As Rue moves the middle onto the base, Nora begins to gather up the snow for the head, and she shakes her head. "I really don't know what her type is. We've never talked about relationships, boys, girls, birds or bees. If she has a boyfriend or a girlfriend, if she's looking for one, I don't know. She's more likely to tell me about a fighting maneuver than who she thinks is cute or crushable, you know? But…"

She shrugs as she rolls what will be the head a bit, to help make it more spherical, "I wouldn't… you know. Expect a lot. I don't want your heart to get more hurt than it already is."

A few moments late, another name registers. "Quinn — Robyn Quinn? Is that your ex? I met her a few days ago."

Nora can't see it, but the gears in Rue's head are turning as she gleans little details from what she's being told. "I appreciate that," she says sincerely. "She's a hell of a dancer. Pretty, too. Not as pretty as you, but don't tell her I said that or I'll just tell her I was drunk when I said it." Which might not actually help her case.

When Nora connects the dots between Quinnie and Robyn Quinn, Rue nods. Then she remembers to verbalise the confirmation. "Yeah. Quinnie used to be the love of my life." She still is, in a lot of ways. That much is obvious from the way she talks about her. "I had no idea she was a part of all of this until we literally ran into each other in the hallway here."

There's another self-deprecating snort at the word pretty being used to describe Nora. She shrugs. Secret's safe with her.

She lifts the head to hand to Rue rather than trying to put it on the snowman herself.

"All this, meaning the Ferry? She seems like a good person. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you," she says softly. "But maybe… like, I'm not religious or anything, but every action has a reaction, and all that right? Maybe your breaking up will eventually lead you to someone even more right for you… eventually. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but … some time."

"I hope you're right." Rue takes the snowman's head, which she intends to knock right the fuck off its body soon, and places it atop the middle. She dusts her hands off audibly. "There. I don't think he really needs eyes or a carrot nose. But." She draws them in the snow for her own benefit. "I gave him a frowny face," she explains, "because he knows we are about to own him."

Rue takes Nora by the shoulders and centres her in front of the man of snow. "All right. Show me how to break a fucker's nose."

"Picture whoever you want instead of button eyes and a carrot nose. Either way, it doesn't really make any difference on my end," Nora says with that smirk again. Reaching out she gets a feel for where the head is, gently touching it and then taking another step away so that her next move won't remove its head from her force.

"You're tall, but one thing that works well is upward force, like, driving your hand up into your target's face, right? Fingers in fists are likely to get broken." She shows her hand to Rue, the fingers curled inward but only partially, leaving the palm open. "Upward strike, with the butt of the hand. Bonus, you can also claw the face or grab the hair after if you want to like, hit then grab their hair and spin the neck."

Her hand flies forward toward the snowman's head, an inch short of hitting him, to demonstrate. "You can go for the nose or like, right between the eyes," Nora says, then steps aside to let Rue have her destructive moment.

Rue watches Nora's demonstration, curling her hand in a mimic of the other girl's. She almost opens her mouth to ask like this? but catches herself before the fatal moment of voicing her stupidity. When it's her turn, she takes a deep, cleansing breath, and then lashes out at the snowman with a loud cry. Maybe because she's that frustrated, or maybe because that's just how it's always done in the movies.


Frosty's head hits the ground. Rue stands triumphant. "Man, if only it would always be that easy. I would be un-fuckin'-stoppable."

Then something has her pausing. The air feels thicker around her. The result of anxiety and memory creating a knot in her stomach and tightening a grip around her throat. "Have… you heard from Reynard lately?"

"Now kick him in the groin," Nora says, with perhaps too much delight in her tone at the thought of Frosty being pummeled and demasculated. "Or you know, in his androgynously shaped rounded middleish area…"

She just shakes her head at the question of Reynard, teeth raking over her lower lip and hands going back into her pockets.

Rue takes Nora's advice then, lashing out so violently that she gets her boot lodged in the snowman's base and goes toppling over onto her back. Halp! My boot's been eaten by a snowstomach. "God damn it," she groans, blinking up at the world that's gone topsy turvy. "I told you that kicks would get me in trouble."

The crunch of snow being kicked is a distinctively different sound than that of snow being fallen on, and Nora can't help but laugh, then covers her mouth. "You aren't hurt, are you? Man, if you broke anything, I'm going to get such a bad reputation," she says, moving to offer a hand to Rue.

As she waits for the other girl to grab it, Nora adds, "You might think about carrying mace." The girl might not be cut out for fighting after all, if a Frosty can fall her that easily.

"Just my pride." The redhead tugs her boot free of the snowman with a quiet ugh of effort. Rue takes Nora's hand and pulls herself to her feet again with a sigh. "Mace. Yeah… That sounds like a solid plan. But man, woe be to the snowman that crosses my path. I'll knock his fuckin' block off."

Then, Rue pulls Nora into a hug. Overdue, in her mind. "Thank you for coming out with me. I knew you were the right person to talk to."

Nora smiles and hugs back, a bit awkwardly. "Pride is easy to recuperate. I bruise mine at least five times a day, and I still have it in droves. If pride can come in droves, I'm not sure. Probably not. Maybe in spades. Something like that." She shrugs, and nods toward the snowman.

"Let's let Frosty lick his wounds. It's cold, and I need another cup of coffee, and then maybe the infirmary mavens will let me back in to visit Benji if I tell them I built and demolished a snowman for my RX of fresh air."

Rue wraps an arm around Nora's shoulders and starts steering her back the way they came. "Come see me the next time you're bored in the evening. I've got a bottle of wine stashed yet, and a whole fuckin' crate of beer. Maybe Benji can join us, when he's feeling better. We'll get blitzed and flip the world the bird."

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