|Location||Campground - New York|
|Participants||Irene, Vega, Tiffany, Kade, Ciel, Huruma|
|Summary||It's fun X-Factor bonding time at the campsite.|
Pity the poor people who came up with Irene, because when she left New York City the sun was barely up. And even with coffee provided, that is early. At least they only had to listen to the Top of the Pop charts for about an hour, though, before the radio was turned off and the city faded away into the distance.
The sun is high in the sky now, seen brightly shining through gaps in the canopy of trees, occasionally obscured by a passing cloud. The trees are old and tall, a mix of pine and broader leafed varieties, spread across miles and miles of terrain, some places too thick with tree and underbrush to walk through easily. Or safely. Some of the vines deeper into the brush are certainly poisonous. High above all of that, birds can be heard and sometimes seen flitting between branches.
The campsite has been established in a clearing of sorts between some of the larger trees, the ground mostly bare dirt and a little rocky. Irene's truck has been parked a little less than a mile away, all the equipment and provisions she's brought carried into the woods over the morning to camp closer to the lake. Though the waters are still a small walk away, just past the cover of trees. There's a two-person kayak among the coolers and things brought for anyone who wants to enjoy the waters without actually getting in them. Two tents have been set up, a larger four person 'family' tent and a smaller two person one, with rolled up sleeping bags of varying colors and quality thrown inside.
Irene herself is currently working on establishing what will be the fire pit, ringing rocks around a dug out dent in the ground. She's dressed much like she normally is, in a t-shirt, jeans and boots, and all-weather jacket. The quality of clothing is lower than usual, though, except for the nice outdoorsy jacket. These are things that can get dirty.
Kade left New York at a less crack-of-down hour than Irene, so he arrives a little after they've had time to establish the camp. His SUV has been parked next to Irene's truck, and he rolls into the collection of tents with a, "Yo." He's dressed in jeans and an old t-shirt and hoodie, hauling a backpack filled with some gear. And a tent that looks new. Possibly purchased at a super-store just for this occasion.
Vega was one of those brought along at an inhospitable hour of the morning, still nursing her hangover and bruises from the night before. She was also the one to turn off the cheerful pop station about an hour into the drive. Now she nurses the remnants of her obnoxiously large coffee, which is sadly at the dregs of its existence. She doesn't really look visibly /prepared/ for camping so much as somewhat awake in dark denim, boots, and a tshirt reading 'I saw nature and then I went home.' She has a grey flannel hanging open over her tshirt, and watches Irene make fire with a dubious expression to match her split lip. Despite her moderate, seemingly token, complaining, she has helped set up the tents and been relatively useful this morning. Although her contribution to the 'gear' appears to be alcohol and a few actual camping elements.
Tiffany supervises Irene's efforts with the fire pit from the safety and comfort of a folding lounge chair. "It's so cool that you know how to do that," she says with no enthusiasm whatsoever. She wears a spaghetti-strap tank and denim cutoffs. With her eyes concealed behind large, aviator sunglasses, she rubs suntan lotion all over her body.
Ciel appears on Kade's heels, minus a tent (that's what his is for!), but plus a backpack and a giant cooler. She's cheating the cooler up the path, portaling so she doesn't have to try to jerk it along rough terrain. From the way she carries it, the thing is heavy, and she says, "We really should've sent one of the strong people after this."
"Stop looking like a sulking teenager," Irene tells Vega with a long-suffering sigh. She's already expressed surprise and worry over the bruises and rolled her eyes at the t-shirt. She puts a final rock in place and then stands up again as others arrive. "Uhm, thanks," she says, looking over at Tiffany somewhat uncertainly. But she approves of sunscreen at least, so there's that. "Hey," she says quietly and generally to new arrivals, though she eyes Kade for a moment longer than anyone else, then just nods. "I don't know," she says, watching Ciel portaling the cooler along, "This is pretty entertaining."
"Hey," Vega greets as Kade as he ambles into the campsite. His and Ciel's appearance is met with a salute of her coffee rather than a wave. "Nice to see you made it." The pink-haired former detective is sporting a fine purple bruise on her jaw and a split lip on this lovely spring morning. She rolls her eyes at Irene's long-suffering sigh and looks all the more like a sulking teenager for a moment. "I'm too old to be a teenager," she argues mildly. Her gaze also follows Ciel's portals with a lift of her brows.
"I have faith you can do it, baby." Kade provides moral support to Ciel's efforts with the cooler. He will help her settle the thing when they get it into the camp proper, at least. Vega's bruises get a blink. But he does not ask. Irene's eyeing is returned. As is the nod, in a subdued fashion. "This area's pretty. You come here often?"
"Well," Ciel says, huffing just a little with the exertion. "I'm glad to provide entertainment." The last portal opens next to an empty area she's eyeing for that tent, and she drops the cooler to the ground with a bit of a crash. Straightening, she plants her hand at the small of her back and stretches backward with a wince. "And snacks, and booze. Lots and lots of booze."
Tiffany bends forward in her seat, elongating a leg to apply sunblock to it. The cap to the tube makes an audible wet snapping sound as it is closed and a similar sound when she has to reopen it. From behind her shades, she quietly observes their behavior towards one another.
"I said /looking/ like a teenager. Which you do," Irene retorts to Vega, especially as the other former detective rolls her eyes. Really. She wipes her hands on her jeans and shrugs. "Not always here," she answers Kade, "But I get out when I can." She looks up and around at the trees for a moment or two in silence. "...yeah, I think there might be more alcohol here than food at this point." That may be an exaggeration. It's not an unwelcome one though.
Kade offers a little wave to Tiffany, after he's put his tent down in a clear area. Or, the sack of tent materials that might, at some point this weekend, become a tent. He doesn't immediately start assembling it, though, ambling over to the firepit and eyeing it. Knuckles idly flexing. "Need a hand keeping this going?"
Eying Irene, Vega doesn't look less like a teenager for a moment as she polishes off the last of her coffee with a shrug. "Oh good. Your booze can join mine. We'll have an all natural bar," she suggests to Ciel with a slow hook of a smile. Best thing to come out of camping. "Isn't the more alcohol than food thing a sign we are doing this right?"
"That's because we have our priorities in order," Ciel says with a quick flash of a smile toward Irene. It's tense around the edges, in the crinkle of her eyes, but none of it is directed at Irene in particular. She tips her had at Vega in agreement, then adds, "Kade's got this weird knack with fires. Super handy."
Tiffany twiddles her fingers back at Kade. The gesture itself is a little flirtatious, even if it's accompanied by a completely apathetic expression. Seeing as how she already has her perfect spot near the would-be fire, she's not moving. "Should we start drinking now?" She asks dryly, raising her eyebrows above her aviators, "I mean, you're done your coffee. So."
It's a beautiful day, in beautiful countryside, with a beautiful sprawl of clouds over the lake and forested campsite. There are faint trails that cut through the woods here and there, some used by hooves or tires, and some by boots. The terrain welcomes anyone who has enough of a mind to handle it.
There is a snap-crack of brush and weeds in the distance along one of the trails used mainly by those with four legs.
"Later," Irene tells Kade, holding up her hands. "You can show off when it actually needs to be lit." But hey, she'll let you do it. That's nice, right? There is a slight sigh, though, not very hard-felt for the amount and enthusiasm towards alcohol. "...I usually don't have this much alcohol out here. Just some beer, maybe," she admits. She has some different priorities. "I mean...you can." Start drinking, that is. "Just be sure to fit some water in there too." The sound of something moving in the woods gets her attention for a moment, frowning slightly.
"Better than a zippo," Vega judges of Kade's fire-lighting abilities with a slight nod for all she hasn't actually seen them in action. She glances over at Tiffany as she suggests they start drinking now. "I am going to wait until at least noon...I think. Probably. I need that caffeine to fully permeate before I start adding more alcohol to my system." She doesn't pay attention to the bushes. Trees. Movement. Eh.
Kade has a thermos that contains coffee, obtained from a gas station en route. It's three-quarters done, though, and he says promptly, "I'm very cool with some drinking." Irene's reply about the fire, and showing off, get a look from him. But no real denial that this is what he wanted to do. "All right, all right. Just let me know when you're ready. I will light this up /good/." He sounds eager to show this off, it must be said. His head turns at the sound of movement from up the trail.
"Oh, yeah, let's get wasted before we get all the tents up," Ciel suggests, dry, but despite her tone she doesn't hesitate to crack open the cooler to dig for a handful of beers, which she extends in general offering.
There's silence on the actual trail now, but soon enough birds flapping and fluttering away give off the game as whatever it is moves towards the campsite. Whatever it was seems to give up being quiet once the birds ruin the fun-- now the footfalls sound pretty big, crunching leaf litter as they pick up a pace slightly.
It only sounds like a bear.
The trail end at the far side of the clearing parts, a bundle of old blackberry brambles pushed aside from head-height as a familiar, tall frame steps out, dust up over boots and pantlegs, a slightly worn blue henley tucked under a worn leather shoulder harness.
Rather than offering words or approach, Huruma simply lifts a hand, lingering in the shadow under the sun filtering through the pines.
Irene eyes Kade back and tries not to look concerned about that enthusiasm. She mostly succeeds and doesn't even make a crack about 'not setting the forest on fire'. "Well, I'm not getting wasted." Yay? The majority of her attention has definitely shifted away from the campsite towards the noise in the woods. Like, maybe she should not have threatened people with bears. Is that a self-fulfilling prophecy? "--What the fuck." Hi. She means hi.
Tiffany pushes off of her folding chair, letting the bottle of suntan lotion save her spot on its seat. "I think it can only help." She only makes it part of the way over to Ciel before she freezes up to look out towards the woods. Her hand remains poised mid-air as if reaching for a beer. It takes a moment after Huruma appears for her to relax, again. She's not a very woodsy person.
"That'd be a high goal before the tents get set up." There is just Kade's and Ciel's left. As much as Vega said she wasn't going to drink, she takes a beer when offered with a slight shrug. It isn't hard liquor at least. Rising to her feet, she glances towards the crunching bushes and the Bear-uma as it appears. Huh.
"Directions came with the tent," Kade says, gesturing to his bag of woodland gear. "It doesn't look too hard." Spoken like a man without extensive experience putting up tents. He heads over to get a beer, opening it, but he doesn't get in a sip before those sounds from the trail get louder. "You said there were bears out here, didn't you?" That to Irene. Apprehensive. He's wearing a stinger, and he half-reaches for it before Huruma emerges. A grin, albeit a tired one, breaks across his face. "Fancy meeting you out here, Ms. Huruma."
"I dunno, you haven't seen us try to set the tent up yet," Ciel answers Vega with a quick smile. She steps forward, closing the last few inches between Irene's outstretched hand and the beer bottle she's offering. "Might take us hours." She jerks her chin upward in acknowledgement as Huruma appears.
"Lovely to see you too." Huruma's low voice responds to Irene with a note of amusement, dirt and a look of the outdoorsman contrasting against the smile that curves onto her mouth. There is a belt of appropriate tools slung around her hips, and when she steps into motion again, both of her hands find a perch on top of it. Though she looks to Kade, the words seem to be for the lot of them, white eyes narrowed with a widening smile. "Been a while, hasn't it? It does help to still be getting the mailer, it seems." Easy to find you.
Tiffany takes the beer, offering a tiny half-smile to Ciel. "Wait," she glances between the party as a whole, "Are there really like, bears out here?" The psionic gestures vaguely to their campsite and maybe the fire pit. There's a tickle of concern in her voice. "I thought when she," 'she' being Irene, "-mentioned that in the mailer. It was in reference to that leather daddy bar we passed on the way down." Tiffany thumbs over her shoulder.
"...I did say there are bears." Irene does not sound like she /actually/ expected bears, even if the possibility is there. But this time at least, there are no bears. "Uh. ...No," she says after a moment of staring at Tiffany. Not those bears. "At least I wasn't ready to shoot you?" She says to Huruma, gesturing at Kade. "Yeah, it's been..." She tries to think, then gives up. "Awhile." Shaking her head, she looks over towards the brand new tent. "I'm sure you can manage the directions." Although she's probably not going to be able to just let them flail around if it's like an IKEA tent or something.
"I am here to be back up on building if you need it," Vega promises, pressing her beer against her chest. It's a dubiously knight-ly action. Glancing over to Tiffany, she smiles slightly. "Nope. Although good noticing on that place... We've only seen a bear like once or twice out here?" At least it's not /likely/.
"I'm sure they'd invite you to play if you asked," Tiffany coos to Kade, bringing up her beer and testing the cap. She makes a sort of Vanna White gesture towards the beer cooler for Huruma's benefit before becoming distracted with a struggle of her own. "Are these twist off?" Holding out her hand, Tiffany frowns down at the circular indent in her palm from the still unopened bottle cap. "What do you do if you see a bear?" And then, adding, "The animal."
"No poaching the wildlife." Is Irene's soft response. Says the woman that has probably poached some of the wildlife by now. Huruma stops a conversational distance away, and judging by some still healing marks here and there, this is probably not the first and last place she's been.
"Well enough. I had a job opportunity out of the city I could not pass over-- so I took it. Do you need a hand with the tents?" Huruma arches a brow to Tiff's Vanna impression at the cooler, and a little more at her inability to snap the bottlecap off.
"You turn and leave. The females have cubs out." The tall woman moves in to offer a hand to open Tiffany's bottle first, before she'll see into getting one for herself, thirst obvious judging by the faint sheen on her skin.
"I think I've got it..." Kade says to Vega and Huruma, as he gets all the poles and stakes and strips of water-proof nylon that make up his tent out of its bag. It takes a /lot/ of rummaging for him to find what's apparently the 'A' piece. And for a moment he just stares at it, squinting, like he's puzzling out how best to attach it to the 'B' piece. It doesn't inspire a ton of confidence.
"To be fair, one of those times was from across a river," Irene adds some details to Vega's comment on bear sightings. "But the other time it was trying to get at the food and that was a bit of a mess," she continues, sounding way too casual about that. "Here," she says to Tiffany, walking over and twisting the cap off of the beer without asking or even needing to take the bottle out of her hands to do it. As for the bears, she struggles for a moment trying to remember. "You should...yeah. Back away slowly. Hope they don't chase you."
"Thanks," Tiffany isn't sure who to thank or what for. She presses her mouth into a straight line, holding her beer with both hands once it is back in her possession. She's going to get eaten by a bear, but at least the bear will have a nice buzz going afterwards.
Vega eyes Kade as he rummages through the nylon bag like a bear at a picnic basket. She continues to hold onto her beer, unopened for the moment. "If you're sure..." She says with a dubious glance. "You need the little circular part." She can't help herself. He doesn't inspire confidence.
"Oh, good," Ciel says, dropping down into a seat atop the cooler as she shoots Vega a smile. "That means you can help him and I can sit here and look pretty." The glance she tosses Kade is a little dubious on the subject of 'I've got it', but she does not comment. Instead she shoots Vega another glance that's all raised brows and vague, tiny gestures kept low where Kade can't see them.
"This one?" There are a couple of vaguely circular parts, and one /actual/ circular part. It's one of the 'not correct' ones Kade's holds up for Vega. He remains blissfully unaware of the silent exchange between Ciel and Vega, continuing his fumbling with his tent. He ends up unfurling the larger nylon part and putting it over his head. As if this will help. It does not, perceptibly. This goes on for a bit until he finally, grudgingly, asks Vega, "Uh, which part would /you/ start with?"
Irene bites her lip as Kade unfurls nylon...over his head. But she says nothing. He needs help. She looks over at Vega significantly. /You/ know how to put it together. (Cheater.)
"The other one." That is not particularly descriptive or helpful Vega, considering the variety of parts. She shifts herself a little closer as Kade fishes through the parts. Glancing towards Ciel, her mouth curves in a half smile and she nods at the hand-gestures, letting Kade continue his interpretive tent dance until he actually, finally asks for help. In the meanwhile, she rolls up her pant leg to pull out a multi-tool to open her beer. Because that is some how easier than just handing it to Irene. "I'd throw the instructions out," she admits, moving over to squat down next to Kade after taking a look at them. Those are bullshit. "Looks like the frame needs to be built first..." She shows him slowly, planting her beer in the dirt and piecing two of the long pieces together that he started with.
Huruma can't watch this. She absorbs the ambiance of inept campers for a moment, seeming to bask under actual emotive presences before slipping over to stand beside Irene, one eye on Kade and Vega as they get into tent-making. After a moment she does cast Irene a short, muted look, one hand on her hip. Her voice is sober enough, low in its volume. "...There is something amiss, isn't there? Or am I mistaken?" Surely not.
"You aren't mistaken," Tiffany answers dryly. She brings her beer to her lips and takes a sip, pivoting slowly to watch the tent building efforts. She chooses not to give any more explanation than that.
Ciel gives Vega a profoundly grateful look before she straightens a little and says, "I'm gonna go check out the water. Back in a bit." And off she goes.
"You can't just tell people to throw out the instructions, Vega." It doesn't work like that. For everyone else. "No," Irene answers Huruma a little flatly. And definitely lying. Or avoiding, at least. "The tent will get put together just fine." Because that's what's amiss. She glances towards Ciel and nods once, acknowledgement at least, maybe approval, then crosses her arms and stares off into the distance.
"My instructions are better," Vega argues, not looking at Irene as she shows Kade the easier way to put the tent together. AWAY. His stuffing of them into the bag earns an approving nod. Her dark eyes met Kade's briefly at his question to Huruma, her bruised jaw tightening as she jams together another tent pole. Emotion radiates subtly off of her, deeper anger mixing with guilt under a placid surface.
"I've been out here for the past week. Before that, elsewhere." Huruma's somewhat gentle answer is all the same expected-- she seems the type to do such things. She shifts, though remains where she is, fingers loose around the neck of her bottle. Mmm. "I have been very disconnected. I planned to return soon, but I saw--" She gestures easily to the campsite. "--that this was to happen." And so here she is. Perhaps their underlying moods even drew her in, like a big, dark vulture.
Tiffany sips her beer. Her own inner turmoil has little to do with any of theirs, although her sister is heavily involved. "This is the brief escape," she explains quietly before smacking her lips together and following it with another heavier swig of beer. "FASTER!" She heckles Vega and Kade.
"Those were /not/ good instructions," Kade defends Vega's plan, and his own follow-through, to throw them away. There's guilt bubbling in the mass that is Kade's emotional state at the moment, too. A swirling, tangled combination of feelings that can only be described as: grief. Tiffany's heckling gets a side-eye. "Everyone's a critic..." he mutters. It's a long beat before he gives Huruma a real answer. Though he finally does. "You're going to find out soon anyhow. It's Mikhail. He's...he died."
"Well, welcome." As an actual greeting to Huruma, it comes way late and Irene sounds less enthusiastic than she might have earlier. Watching Kade and Vega put the tent together, she looks vaguely like she's overseeing the project and is perfectly calm. But she is not. She shares some of that grief with Kade, but there is also anger and guilt mixed in, less turbulent days later.
Teach a man to build a tent and he might actually be able to do it again the next time he needs it too. Vega doesn't speak as Kade answers Huruma, she merely takes a long drink of her beer. She glances over to Tiffany as she heckles with a lift of her brows. "You want to come help?" She suggests with a slightly pointed smile.
Huruma listens more to their emotional states than to their words, used as accents to the grief, anger, and guilt mixing around them. She reads them first, listening second-- but she listens nonetheless. The news does not seem to stir her physically, but she does tuck it back on the inside to mull over when the time comes. It's-- unfortunate. "I see." She does not ask how. Either she plans to later, let one of them offer it, or find out for herself. It is clear this is an escape, as Tiffany puts it.
"I don't want to make you guys look bad," Tiffany coos over to the tent-builders, popping out her hip and planting a hand on the inward slope of her waist. So sassy! Her own grief is selfish and quiet, having nothing to do with Mikhail at all and all to do with her.
"I'm thinking of trying to get some...services together, when we get back to the city," Kade says. He doesn't speak of how it happened, though the memory of it causes a spark in those feelings of anger and guilt that he manages not to let show on the surface. Save by the deep sadness in his eyes. "I don't really know what he believed, if he believed anything, but..." He trails off and focuses on the tent. The frame of which is finally coming together, now that Vega's directing him.
"Somehow I don't think that will be a problem," Vega calls back over her shoulder, not looking to appreciate Tiffany's sass. Any additional comments quiet as Kade speaks of service, causing her to nod briefly. She'll be there. Even if she doesn't say so aloud. She quietly directs him in the next steps, with the frame together they are swiftly adding canvas and structure. Oh look. A tent!
He's a good man, and it shows. Huruma gives Kade a simple nod, lifting her bottle to him before she takes a long drink from it. Chances are that she has been without, out here-- she doesn't seem the type to take beer camping. "Look at that. It almost looks like a shelter."
"Hey, hey." Kade steps back to bask in the minor triumph of his assembled tent. Hands on hips, taking it in. His smile is forced, but he manages on. "It does, it does." That to Huruma. A "Thanks" is offered to Vega, as she did a good part of the work. And then he returns to his beer. Because alcohol is appealing.
Tsk. A self-inflating tent is just too easy. That won't be nearly as diverting to watch being assembled. Irene probably won't really care though. She's only partially payed attention to this tent being constructed. It's together now, though. Good job.
"You will not be eaten by bears without a token amount of them unwrapping you," Vega says agreeably of the tent, remaining seated on the dirt as she does. She takes a drink of her beer, nodding briefly at Kade's thanks. The tent is bear deterrent though. Rising slowly to her feet, she dusts off her pants. "Think I may also go check out the lake for a bit," she says, gesturing with her beer.
Tiffany reaches under her chair, rifling through the bag for a bit. Eventually, she produces a cheap spiral notebook and pen. That's where she'll be. Taking in the scent of the woods around her, she flips through the thin pages until she finds her place before delving in.
"If you'd like, I can show you the better trail." Huruma offers up to Vega, chin lifting when the younger woman gestures to the direction of the lake. "The water is still somewhat cold, but good for fishing."
"I'm going to sit for a spell," Kade says, for his part, sprawling in front of his tent, with his beer. While he's a naturally chatty fellow, he doesn't seem to feel any need to fill the air with words just now."Just point me in that direction," Vega says agreeably, smiling slightly at Huruma. "I'll cover the ground later."