A lathe-turned wooden railing runs the length of the porch save where the steps are, well-worn with use. To the right of the stairs, a wide swing is suspended from the overhang which shelters this area; to the left, a small table is the centerpiece for several chairs pulled around it, all of which face out to the front yard and the fields and trees beyond. The biting cold of winter is tempered somewhat by the sheltering of the roof, but it is still enough to make the porch an inhospitable place to tarry for long. Even the low shrubs seem to avoid it, their leafless woody stems closed in tight upon themselves.
An aging screen door newly refurbished stands between the heavy inner door of the house and the outside air. Four steps lead down to the lane, a number of pots with small flower seedling carefully arranged alongside them.
Bernie is mostly lying on the porchswing, pen in hand, apparently writing on a small pad of paper. It looks like she's gotten distracted from whatever she was writing, though, as she's sort of staring absently off into space. Daydreaming, maybe; there's a hint of a smile on her face.
Yi comes up the lane, a familiar route for her nowadays, with a small bag in her arms. Seeing the cub on the porch swing, she shifts the package over to one side and waves. "Hello Bernie!" she calls, unaware of the pseudo-vacant state of the daydreamer.
Jolted out of her reverie, the cub squeaks, almost falling off the swing, and immediately flips her notebook closed as she rights herself. "Oh! Um...hiya, Yi... 'sup?" Bernie asks, looking almost sheepish as she pushes her curls back behind her ears, where they refuse to remain, "...whatcha got there?"
Yi allows herself a soft laugh of amusement, but quickly pushes the bubbling giggle down. "Honey," she replies, taking out a clear jar with a bee buzzing around hive logo on it. "Think you have some time?"
Bernie mms, sitting up a little. "...ooh, I love honey... an', yeah, I guess I got some time, I mean, not like I'm doin' anythin' real important out here right now... had a couple things I was thinkin' 'bout doin' later, but that's later, so."
Yi slips the jar back into the bag and grins. "Well I was thinking to maybe teach you a gift. It's one of our tribe's gifts that we can use. Helps us when we're caught up in a battle. And it involves this honey." She points down to the jar inside the bag.
"...Kinky," Bernie replies, with a fleeting grin, eyes following the jar, and then nods. "...a'ight... thanks, sounds good t' me... what d'we do?"
Yi looks around, thinking. "Well it is night time, I think we can head a little bit into the fields and start there." She nods towards the fields beyond the farmhouse.
The obnoxious blattering groan of Matt's scooter winds its way up the lane.
Bernie nods, "...yeah, a'ight, that sounds reasonable..." She trails off, glancing out toward the lane at the rather distinctive sound of the scooter, and grins, waving a hand toward Matt as he approaches, and calling out, "Heya! 'sup?"
Yi turns glancing over her shoulder at Matt. She gives the Fianna a nod and a smile, setting down the bag on the porch. "Hello," she greets.
Matt pulls up on his scooter (a vintage Lambretta SX, for anyone who pays attention to such things) and kills the engine. He pulls off his helmet, already smiling. "Oi, Books. Three-blades. 'licia. Oi'm fine; saw a lawyer 'bout a green card."
"Yeah? Cool beans, didn' know y' didn' have one... so what'd th' lawyer say then?" Bernie queries, pulling the little notepad and pen she's holding further into her lap as she sits on the swing. "Yi's gonna teach me a gift thing, I think..."
Alicia heads out of the house, hearing voices and the rumbling of engine in the background. Blinking her eyes a bit, she lets out a soft yawn and glances around at the assembled.
Yi shifts a little uneasily. Lawyers, greencards. Even though she would legally be an adult, she came to America stowed away on a boat. Or rather, packed away in a fishcrate. Rubbing the back of her neck, she churns a few thoughts before deciding to let Matt answer Bernie first.
Matt says "Not much actually. Oi fink the stick in her kyhber was lodged in her froat. She took down a buncha fings, offered to get me fake papers, then shoo'ed me out. Oi fink, though, she's goin'ta get me blister ta file for me. She married an Orthodontist, which makes you a citizen, or somefin' loike that.""
Yi gives Matt a peculiar look. "Fake papers? Orthodontist?" She blinks a couple of times. "What's that have to do with lawyers and green cards?"
Alicia rubs the back of her neck, then looks over to Matt. She gives him a long, steady stare, then slips into the one of the chairs on the porch.
Bernie snickers, "...so not 'zactly someone y'wanna 'vite over for a party, huh? Still I guess if she can get it all done right..."
Yi slips over to Alicia for a moment, asking her softly. "So, everything ok with you and Tom?" She lets the other two cubs talk for a moment.
Matt shrugs, taking his lighter and a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pockets. "Apparently if you've got a relative that's a citizen, she can apply to get citizenship for you. My sister is a citizen by marriage, 'ence the orthodontist, so she can apply for me. Oi 'ope."
Alicia glances to Yi, her cheeks flushing a bit. "Everything is fine.. jus'not sure if he'll come back a lot tho'."
Yi gives both cubs with their replies nods, a little smile, and glances up towards the sky. "So..." She feels a little bit cold, but has since gotten used to the weather for the most part since arriving. Walking over and looking into her bag, she chews her lip for a moment. "Why don't we go inside? It's a little cold."
Matt nods. "Let me finish this oily, and Oi'll be right in." He shuffles a bit from foot to foot, but doesn't seem that cold. Furtive maybe.
Yi nods, picking up her bag and glancing around. "Well, ah, I'll go inside and make some tea."
Alicia hops to her feet and smiles, brushing her hand through her hair. "Sho', ah'll go inside an make ya'll something to drink."
"So they don't mind at th' rest'rant y'don't have a green card yet?" Bernie queries, shifting the notepad to her thigh as she prepares to rise from the swing to follow the others inside.
Matt shrugs, pulling deeply on the cigarette to finish it. "They've been buggin' me 'bout it since it expired in October. Lucca finally hooked me up wif a Kin lawyer ta take care of it. Oi'll probably 'ave ta apologize profusely to some clerk, an' all."
Matt waits until Bernie almost turns to go inside, then blurts "Bernie, wait! Before you go in..."
Bernie slips the pad and pen into her pocket as she gets up, and pauses by the door, turning back curiously, "...yeah? 'sup?" Her brow furrows slightly.
Matt grinds the roach of his cigarette into the ground, then retrieves the butt. He steps onto the porch, closer. "Oi spent the day finkin'. Out on the boulder." He finds himself unable to meet her eyes. "Have you fought about where we're going? You an' me? Us?"
Bernie stops, and thinks for a moment, regarding the other cub. "...y'mean, in th' future? Honestly? ...not a lot... I mean..." she smiles a bit, if nervously, "...'m only just gettin' useta now..."
Matt deflates, visibly. "Oi know, oi know. And you've 'ad an awful lot frown at you at once. OI remember what it was like for me." He pulls another cigarette out, along with the lighter, but although he opens it with a *chink*, he doesn't light the cigarette. "Oi should apologize. Oi've led you astray." He slumps onto the first step, cigarette still dangling from his lips.
Bernie stays where she is a moment before moving to the steps, and sitting down beside Matt on the first one. "...funny... I don't r'member bein' led astray..." she remarks, looking at him with some concern, "...you a'ight?" Her hand touches lightly on his closer knee.
Matt turns to look Bernie in the eye. Something is obviously tearing him up; tears are not far away. "Yes. No. Aw, fook' all, Books. Oi can't keep on. Every minute is one that will hurt you more later. We 'ave ta stop now, roight?" Each phrase is punctuated with an attempt to light the cigarette, but each time Matt continues before he gets it lit.
Bernie looks back at him for a few seconds, mouth opening slighty, and then to the ground, curls falling forward to cloak most of her face as she replies with a very soft, "....oh." Her hand moves back, slipping along the wrist of its partner, just against her stomach.
Matt's eyes flash anger, a bit of his rage showing. "Dammit, Books! Nothing's changed about the way Oi feel. Oi just...just can't...aw, fuck." He is silent for a long moment, then continues quietly. "Oi know this 'urts. It 'urt's me like a swift plank to th' orchestra, but...if we /don't/ stop, if we take this farther than it should go, we'll be exiled at best, killed, or shunned. Oi don't want anyfing like that ta happen to you." He finally gets the cigarette lit, and huddles in on himself, pulling his knees in to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
Bernie, meanwhile, ends up in the same position, arms tightening closely about her legs, the soles of her boots teetering against the edge of the step. "...but... I... and..." she murmurs, and shakes her head, bonking her forehead down onto her knees and emitting a rather ragged sigh. "...ow. Fuck. I don' want anythin' like that t' happen t' you either... 'course... but... it's not... I mean we... I mean we're still so far away from even bein' close t' where we're not s'posta go...an'... but... 's so nice, how you make me feel..." She trails off again, before whispering, "...even if you're probably right."
Matt slides onto the middle step to look up to where her face is hidden by her hair. "Oi know," he whispers "You make me feel the same way. It wouldn't hurt so much ovverwise. An' we /are/ a long way from breakin' th' Litany. But if we keep going the way we are, we will." A mischeivous grin flashes briefly and disarmingly across his face. "You certainly make me want to. An' if we don't, it's goin' ta hurt a fousand times what it does now." He places a gentle hand on her knee, near one of her hands. "'M not goin' anywhere, Bernie. Yer still the best mate Oi've 'ad since Tom and Blackjack, and yer a damn sight prettier than either of 'em."
Bernie actually laughs a little at the last comment, and her hand moves up to touch the top of his as she sighs again, lifting her head a little. It's fairly obvious that not crying is an ongoing battle in which the line is barely being held. "'s better than if you -were-," she replies, "I just... I don't want t' not kiss you anymore." Her lower lip trembles once, threateningly, and she bites it sharply. None of that, now...
Matt takes her in his arms, without words, just holding her tight to him. One hand goes up to stroke her hair.
Alicia strides out the front door, taking a deep breath of the air. She's holding two cups of steaming tea. "Hey guys, thought ya'll could use some warming up."
It was a valiant effort, but the battle's lost anyway... Bernie leans into Matt, burying her face in the join of his neck and shoulder, and the skin there rapidly becomes rather wetter than its natural state. Her shoulder shake a little, though she's pretty much silent, and manages to quietly reply, "no thanks" to Alicia with only a small catch in her throat. She doesn't, of course, look up to do it, though.
Matt continues to hold Bernie, biting down hard on his own lip. Alicia's arrival is greeted with a grimace, a shake of the head, and a tilting nod--maybe set them over there on the porch swing? He rocks Bernie gently in his arms, stroking her hair and being comforting. Despite his best efforts, however, Bernie soon feels the wetness on his cheeks.
Bernie gradually wraps her arms around Matt as well, and just cries quietly there for a while, staying close there. Eventually, she murmurs raggedly, muffled by his skin, "...'s just so... unfair..."
Matt cries quietly, perhaps noticible only in the streaks of tear down his cheeks. "It is...." he whispers in agreement. "...I just wish..." he stammers. "If Oi wasn't a philodox, if we were Rited cliaths...If Oi 'ad me flat. If...fookin' 'if.'" He fades back to silence, holding Bernie and letting painful tears burn their way down his face.
"...two of those'll change soon 'nough," Bernie points out softly, still crying, but somewhat less consumingly for the moment. "...but 'course you're always gonna be a 'dox..." She sighs, and cuddles in a little closer, wet eyes touching against his neck as she shakes her head a bit.
Matt sniffs back more tears, an ugly sound. "...and we're always gonna be mates. Always." He gives her a squeeze. "Wait and see. For now we have to wait."
Bernie nods, and squeezes back tightly. "...Always," she agrees, "...promise." She sniffs a little herself, the sound no more attractive from her.