Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few benches, and a plywood wall barricade. The area where the fountain was, and presumably the new fountain will be, is currently enclosed by high plywood walls. There is a door in one of the walls, firmly locked with a stout-looking padlock. The walls enclose much of the flagstone area, now, only leaving a little around the edges of the old courtyard. Scraggly hedges line one side of the courtyard, just behind some mostly graffiti-free benches and a chain link fence. Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront. The park is almost constantly devoid of people as its reputation for being one of the most violent and dangerous places in the city spreads.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. A meadow surrounds the small glade.
Signe's sitting on her Harley, at the edge of the Park where it meets the street. She's checking a brake line, apparently.
Behind the fountain, but still well within the 'fountain area', Bernie is in evidence. Both hands are covered by a pair of bright pink dishwashing gloves, and she's clutching a big black plastic trashbag in one hand, and a long dowel with a thin cylinder of metal ducttaped to the bottom in the other. She appears to be using this to pick up trash and put it in the bag, so she doesn't have to bend over constantly. From the looks of the ground, she's been here a while already, and while she doesn't look like this is her absolute dream of a way to spend an evening, she does seem to be humming to herself.
A large man, his outline made even bulkier by gray fur crudely stitched into an ensemble of a jacket, strolls with hobnailed boots atop the cracked tarmac of a path through the park. His face is obscured by a foot-long dog, mustard running from it, through several of the fingers clenching the dog, and falling to the ground, making a thin yellow path.
Signe's voice rises in a slur of curses, and she steps off the bike, kicking the back tire ungently. She doesn't see Bernie right away, but the Gnawer no doubt heard her. The Get begins walking into the Park.
Bernie glances up, blinking in surprise at the sudden fluent cursing. She smiles a bit at she recognizes the rider, and attempts to wave at her. Since the stick is much easier to wave than the bag, she ends up looking like some bizarre skiier. "Hey," she greets the other woman, as she goes back to her trash collection. "...how come th' bike needs sendin' t' bed without supper?"
While busily chewing on the weiner, the heavy set man turns to observe the person turning the air blue, but after a short while, deciding he's not learning anything new from her phrases, wanders over to the trash collector, and with a jerk of his hand, grabs his fingers on the bag to open it for a gander at its contents.
Signe mutters, jerking an angry hand back at the bike. "Brakes. Always going." Shrugging beneath her jacket, she eyes the stick. "Whatya doing?"" she asks, noticing the man at the trash with a sneer.
"Instead of stopping? See th' prollem. An' I'm jus' gettin' ridda all th' shit people jus' drop here..." The cub trails off as the man yanks at her trashbag, arching a brow at him in a somewhat incredulous look, but lets him look inside. Lo and behold... it's trash. Papers, cans, bottles and parts thereof, the occassional used condom or equally disgusting specimen. "What, you wan' it? 'cause hey, if y' do, -I- was jus' gonna throw it away..."
Signe continues to sneer at Reggie for a moment, eventually turning back to nod in appreciation to the Gnawer cub. "Keeping the PArk clen's always a good thing."
Reggie picks out half of a broken yo-yo covered in something stringy and rotten, and he looks for a place to wipe it off on, considering then rejecting in turn Bernie's sleeve, his own sleeve, before deciding the outside of the bag will suffice. "You got another one of this?", he inquires, in words spaced well apart. "Mum lost her earrings and if I don't get her another set, well--", his face shakes dolefully.
Bernie keeps the now nasty part of the bag away from her, making a slight face. Possibly the stereotype of Gnawers enjoying the interior of dumpsters is exaggerated. She eyes the yoyo part a moment, though, and then the guy. "Sorry, onea a kind," she replies, but reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out an actual earring, a little fake pearly clip-on bauble, and offers it over, "But hey, if she's not that picky." To Signe, she flashes a quick smile. "Thanks. I try."
Reggie holds up the yoyo half besides the clip-on, and considers the difference between them, his eyes turning from one to the other, for a long moment, before he nods, "Deal", and firmly stuffs the filthy yoyo part into Bernie's jacket pocket, the same one where the clip-on came from, and and tugs away the clip-on from her.
Little Tim rattles his way into the park, pushing aside a peeling sheaf of chain-link like he's done it a thousand times before. Shrugging his shoulders around in his sweatshirt, he takes a moment to survey the area, light a smoke behind a cupped hand, then meanders into the park proper.
Signe's jaw tightens at Reggie's smell, and the Get takes a step back as he completes the trade. She mutters to herself smething about 'goddamn bums'.
From the expression that flits over Bernie's face, that isn't quite what she'd intended; it looks like she can't decide whether to wince or laugh. She recovers quickly enough, though. Glad for the gloves, she somewhat gingerly removes the yoyo from her pocket again, and offers it back to the guy. "I jus' meant as a pair. Y'know, one for each ear, an' all."
"No-no", Reggie waves off the yo-yo, "That'd make one", he tugs at an earlobe, "fall down to there, if there's no", he thinks of the word, "counterweight." Tucking away the clip-on in a pocket, the heft man makes off with his haul, right past Tim and Signe's motorcycle before Bernie can rethink the trade.
Signe calls after him, "Don't touch the bike, fucker." It's a threat. Her eyes fall on tim as he comes closer, but she warily watches Reggie until he's well away from the Harley.
Little Tim watches Reggie stroll past skeptically, his eyes dragged along toward his exit from the park. There's nothing to worry about there, though, so he begins striding toward the others.
Bernie drops the yoyo bit right back in the trash bag, and wrinkles her nose, grasping the edge of the pocket between two fingertips and glancing inside with some trepidation. With a sight sigh, she lets it fall again, and shakes her head. "Could be worse," she mutters, "'least it got wiped off -first-." She blows a bit of air out her nostrils, fighting the departing guy's smell, and readjusts the bag in her hand -- still careful to avoid the gunk on it -- before she starts skewering litter again. She flashes a quick grin at Little Tim as the other Gnawer approaches.
Signe continues to eye Tim. Seeing the recognition in Bernie's eyes, though, some of her edged wariness recedes.
Little Tim sidles up as if he owned the place, chin up, daring the park to say otherwise. He breathes a wreath of smoke then cracks a crooked grin at Bernie, and kicks her bag lightly. "Good work, Bern. Picking up shit, sending out the trash?" His eyes flicker over his shoulder, toward where Reggie made his exit.
Signe licks her lips, eyes fixing on Little Tim in a way that challenges that 'ownership.' She remains silent, however, while he talks to Bernie.
Of course, that's all rather silly, since -Bernie- owns the park... though if she does, or feels she does, it shows up more in what real estate agents refer to as 'pride of ownership', something like the odd, careful tidiness and neat touches found in certain inexpensive neighbourhoods, than in her assurance that no one would possible kick her out. "All in a day's work," she declares in a faux-superhero voice, and shrugs, grinning. "So 'sup?" A quick glance form one to the other, and, "...you guys know each other?"
"No," Signe says in her gruff, uncompromising voice. Her eyes never leave Tim, expectant.
Little Tim catches Signe's cold hammer of a glare and blinks, but otherwise doesn't let the knowing smirk fade. "Nah, little sis, we don't. I'm Little Timmy Tooth-Breaker," he declares, offering a rough, tattooed hand. "I'm uh, Bernie's big brother, if you know what I'm sayin'."
Signe's eyes shift to Bernie, ans she silently asks the Gnawer if he means what she thinks he means--before she too gives an introduction.
Bernie catches the look and gives Signe a slight nod, assuming the Get's interpreted the implication correctly. After all, since she knows, it's obvious to her...
Signe shifts back to tim, answering his intro with one almost as vague. "And they call me Defiant Storm. Or Signe. I ain't Bernie's sister, just a cousin."
Max meanders in on the tail of that introduction, moving up behind Signe but out of arm's reach. "Much-older-/I'll/-hang-you-like-a-'ploma-cousin, yo." Shoving her hands in her pockets she glances sidelong at Signe, about four feet from her and then adopting almost the exact same stance as the jarl. "'n she's gotta /thing/ for locks." The recent cliath is asking for it tonight, but there's not much new about that.
Signe turns on a dime. When she sees the Gnawer, a smirk creases her lips. Her stance is oddly relaxed, but Max's mocking stance brings a flash of anger. And yet, the overzelous Jarl doesn't jump on her. In fact, she comes back with what is /almost/ a cordial, friendly retort. "Rembrandt."
Little Tim shoots Max a flat, narrow look: Don't fuck up right now. "Don' mind the kid, Sig-nee," he says, the unfamiliar name herky-jerky on his tongue. "She new at playin' grown-up." Another look at the not-so-distantly-cub, and he says, "So, which branch of the fam'ly tree, then? I'm guessin' you got German blood, you know?"
Signe nods to Tim, "Yeah. Child of the Wolf. The Big Wolf."
The cub goes back to her work, stabbing various bits of litter that dare to defile the ground of her park on the metal spike duct-taped to the dowel she's carrying, and pushing them off into the black plastic bag in her other hand. She keeps listening, but no reason not to get any work done, meanwhile.
Max winks up at the much larger and rather intimidating jarl. "Dogs-fucking-playing-poker, more like, Mama-rhya." Apparently, Signe and Max know one another and there is a strange sort of neutral zone buffering the ragabash. For now. She slides a foot or so closer to Signe and flickers a look back to Tim as Signe looks away, her brows arching in a gimme-some-credit sort of look. She then turns her dark gaze to Bernie and grins sharply at her. "Yo, Burn." To Max's credit, she doesn't jump on the 'big wolf' statement.
"Coolidge," Bernie pipes up, pushing some junk off into the bag, and then looks up. "The dogs-playin'-poker picture, it was painted by a guy called Cassius Marcellus Coolidge." What a thing to waste brain cells on. "Heya, Max. 'sup?"
Down by the riverside, like the old song, there's Kaz. She's not laying down any burdens, though, she's just wandering, flute case in hand, staring at the Columbia as if it had actual answers in it, as opposed to sewage.
Max leaves Signe's side to move up to crouch down beside Bernie. "Usual, chica. You seen that new dude since 'roni night at St. Mozzerellas? Kurt Beer-Breath?"
Little Tim gives Signe another look, measuring her as best he can, then he folds his arms and watches the two younger Gnawers. 'that new dude' piques his interest a bit, but he remains silent.
Signe catches sight of Kaz by the riverside and a ghost of a smile returns. She leaves the little group of Gnawers to walk toward her ex-packmate. Hey, Kaz."
Kaz jerks her head up from her contemplation, and blinks. Sudden smile rising, she starts heading toward Signe. And, not so coincidentally, the other Gnawers. "Yoyo, boss woman. 'Sup?" She sounds entirely easy with the big Get.
Signe rubs her hand awkwardly through her hair, pushing it out of her eyes. "I wanted to talk to you. About the whole Banecruncher thing."
Bernie grins at Max and shakes her head. "Nah, haven't seen him 'bout at all. Haven't seen Nearly Princess of Denmark, either, but tha's not that weird, I guess, consid'rin'." She pauses, glancing up at the other conversation.
Kaz's expression falls. "Yeah. Well," she says, tightly. "What about him?"
Max hmphs, watching Bernie for a long moment before looking past her to Tim. "The Rock teachin' you shit?" Apparently she's asking this of Bernie about Tim.
Signe glances at the river, explaining, "I had a little visit from Elan." After one of those pregnant pauses, she goes on. "He sees things my way, but I'm thinking the Gnawers probably see it as me stepping in on things. Ya?"
"I been talkinna people," begins Kaz, watching Signe. "An', well, fuck, th' way /I/ see it, /we/ oughta deal with him /ourselves/ -- except he /did/ fuck with you an' yours. Y'know? An' the thing you gave him, if it was me, I mighta not been so nice. So -- You tell me."
Max's gaze strays over the distance to where Kaz and Signe talk in low voices, though she remains crouched beside Bernie for the time being.
Little Tim keeps close to Kaz and Signe, eavesdropping, sort of. For once, his opinion on a matter remains kept to himself.
Signe sniffs at the air, shaking her head briefly. "Sometimes I don't think before I act. My first instinct was to throat him and spit on the corpse. Maybe I'm getting soft. Maybe I'm just wising up. I don't know. Seems stupid not to let him die well, despite what he did."
"What, right now?" Bernie replies quietly to Max, still working on the trash, "nah. He was gonna b'fore, though..." She lifts her voice slightly, addressing the boy. "Hey, Timinator. You still gonna try teachin' me that one thing?"
Nodding, Kaz says, "I only fuckin' found out what he did -- I mean, the rape parts -- like two minutes before you got there, and I was too busy tryinna make Owen get a grip t'think about what was right an' wrong. But -- I dunno, you sayin' you'd leave it t'us, now?"
Signe, before answering that, asks, "You thinking we need to change the outcome somehow? Or, are you just asking me to back off so the Gnawers can do what I suggested?"
In a lowered voice meant for Bernie's ears along, Max notes, "Yo, lissen to the dude. He's got it goin' on inna Fight Club kinda way."
Kaz shakes her head. "I'm sayin', if you had it t'do over again, would y'leave it to us? 'Cause me, I don't object none to what th' outcome actually is, not with him fuckin' with the Veil an' with Ellie an' shit." She shoots a quick glance to Tim, and then back to Signe. "I ain't everyone, though."
Signe almost growls, though the truly perceptive might note the Get doesn't bully Kaz as much as one might expect. "I ain't apologizing. What I did I think was right. You know me. You know me better'n most. Sometimes I act first and think second. Usually, my instincts are right, though. Yeah, maybe it coulda been handled in tribe. But he fucked with me. 'S far as I'm concerned, my beef was between him and me. Nobody else. IT was only after Elan's visit I even thought of the rest."
Bernie flashes Max a quick grin, and nods once. "Hey, I listen t' ev'ryone," she replies, in similar tones, "...but noted."
Kaz considers Signe for a long moment, surprisingly long, for the metis, and then looks down at the ground, as if acknowledging some kind of inherent disparity between them. But her eyes are no less assessing as her gaze rises again. She nods. "I know. And I'm surprised y'din' do t'him whatcha did to Alexandra. So. Well. Like I say, I wish we coulda dealt with it, but wishes don't make zebras, so /I'll/ fuckin' live with it."
Max flicks at Bernie's sleeve with a grin and pushes to her feet. "Later." She turns and heads in Signe and Kaz's direction, silently absorbing the second half of Kaz's commentary.
At the mere mention of Alexandra, Signe's eyes darken and turn colder. "Yeah, well," she begins gruffly, and then decides to leave it at that. As Max comes closer, she eyes the ragabash. Her look, though, isn't one that suggests the newly rited Gnawer would be unwelcome.
Kaz quirks a very humorless smile at Signe's tone, but it relaxes somewhat as Max appears on the outskirts. "So, hey, botha you two, I gots news."
Deciding that Tim seems unlikely to reply and also that she's done enough of her civic duty for the evening, Bernie stuffs the plastic bag into the nearest proper trash can, carefully avoiding the goop on the side even though she's wearing bright pink plastic dishwashing gloves. These, she strips off one after the other so they pull inside out, the clean side now showing. She wanders over, then, to join the other women, and pulls out a ziploc baggie form her bag in which to put the gloves.
Max folds her arms across her chest and slouches to one hip, her attention settling more completely on Kaz. The ragabash is listening.
Signe's gaze settles on Kaz, waiting for the news.
Kaz glances at Bernie. "/She/ can tell you. But, well." Her gaze floats mostly over to Max, but there's some attention on Signe, as there usually is whenever the other woman is anywhere nearby. "Despite th' fact that 'till 4 days ago I thought I was... not worth th' paper I'm printed on, inna lot of ways, next time I see Elan, I'm challengin' his ass. 'Cause... it's time. I just thought y'two oughta know, bein' as you're, well, who y'are."
Max's brows drift upward to match her slow grin. "Yo yo /yo/. Did I jus' hear somethin'?" She looks up at the crescent moon. "Yeah. S'the Moon Mama bustin' a move." She high-fives Kaz, swinging her hand down through an arc to low-five her as well as she steps past her, moving around to Kaz's other side to watch Signe's response to the news, her dark eyes alive.
Signe blinks in surprise. Max's enthusiastic reaction earns a frown, but in truth the Get simply isn't sure how to react. She settles for simply nodding to Kaz, looking overly thoughtful.
The metis takes both high and low fives with some enthusiasm, ending up leaning an arm on Max's back while watching Signe. One eyebrow raises, asking the Get a silent question -- though it doesn't look as if Kaz will change anything she just said, whatever the answer she gets.
A dark figure detaches from the greater darkness of the bridge and comes toward them. Chaser stalks across the meadow, narrowed eyes taking in the presence of the group as she approaches.
Bernie just grins at Kaz; as the metis mentioned, this isn't news to her. For the moment, she sticks her trash-stick into the dirt, letting it stand there by itself so she doesn't have to hold it.
It takes Signe an extra moment or two to notice Kaz's stare. When she does, she breaks out of whatever thoguths had mired her. "Yeah, that's cool Kaz," she says with a little grin. Seeing Chaser, she yells over to the other Get, "Chaz!"
The metis relaxes considerably at the grin, small as it is; Max can probably feel it, given how much of Kaz's weight is currently on or near her. "Rawk," she mutters, near Max's ear.
Chaser's pace doesn't change, though something in her movements is less tense. Coming up to them--notably near Signe--she offers a curt nod. "'Sup?
Max's grin remains plastered, perhaps because of Kaz's one-word statement, as she follows Signe's call to Chaser's shadowy form. Still watching the Get she asks quietly, "When?"
Signe elbows Chaz in a friendly way and shrugs in answer. "Just talking bullshit. Any fun goig on tonight?"
Finally taking her weight off Max, Kaz answers, "ASAP," and, after shooting a brief look of greeting to Chaser, heads over to a bench to climb up on its back and perch there. "Ain't no reason to wait, now that I got th'... Got th' idea I c'n do it."
Chaser lifts a shoulder easily. "Nah." Frowning, she glances over to Kaz and asks, "Do what?"
Kaz explains, "Challenge Elan's butt. Well, and the rest of him, too."
Bernie snickers, "I don' even wanna THINK what kinda challenge his -butt- would dish out..."
Kaz looks faintly alarmed at the prospect.
Signe sniffs at the air again, looking around. "Hey Chaz, the brakes on the bike are out again. You got your tools with you? I'm gonna go see if I can tweak em a little."
Chaser raises an eyebrow and then glances to Sig. "Box is on the bike," she answers, jerking her head toward the bridge. "Parked down my Bridge Street."
Signe glances over the no moon's shoulder and nods. "Eh, I can make it to the apartment. Left my tools there. See you later t'night," she tells Chaser, then looks at Kaz. "Let me know what the crescent says." again, there's that faint grin.
"Seeya," Chaser answers.
Kaz grins, just slightly. "You betcha, boss. Later days."
Bernie waves a hand, first in greeting to Chaser, then in farewell to Signe. "Hey, an' later, respectively," she remarks, and adjusts the hang of her backpack over her shoulder.
Kaz rests a brief hand on Bernie's shoulder. "Got Umbral patrol t'night. I'll see you later, yeah?"
Bernie nods. "Yeah, I prolly oughta get goin' soon too. Onea these days I c'n go with you on th' Umbral patrol side, though, right?" She pulls the stick back out of the ground.
Kaz considers the cub. "Only brought Max along when she was real close t'her Rite. I'll bug you 'bout it one've these days, yeah. Few weeks."
Kaz then ambles off.
Bernie nods a couple times to that. "A'ight. Jus', y'know, 'ventually I gotta an' all, so." She flashes the metis a smile, and then gives Chaser another wave. "G'night," she says, heading back out of the park.
Chaser lifts a hand, absently. She seems to be scanning the park for trouble. "Later."