At first glance, this run-down efficiency seems largely un-lived in. The door opens onto a nearly empty living room, painted institutional white and containing only a low slung lime-green couch with yellow throw pillows and an oak coffee table. It is reasonably spacious, and is obviously intended to be the main room of the flat. The current light fixture is a hanging industrial fluorescent, which gives the room a slightly unhealthy, antiseptic feeling, unmitigated by the ancient blinds covering the windows.
To the right upon entering is a small kitchenette, with barely enough space to stand between the stove and refrigerator on one side and the sink on the other. Just above the sink is what little cabinet space can be had. There is a small dining table and chairs right outside the kitchenette, defining an eating space.
Just past the kitchenette, still on the right, is the bathroom, then both bedrooms. Between them is a small coat closet, empty except for a surely breeding collection of wire hangers. The door to the closet is perpetually ajar, as it doesn't seem to want to latch properly.
Bernie's jacket lies over the back of the couch, her boots beside the door, her backpack on a cushion of the sofa, and beside it, the new cliath herself, doing something bizarre with a small porcelain plaque of a deer, some candles, and an odd, reddish-brown sort of goo she has in a tiny dish.
Kaz can be barely heard humming behind the door before she knocks on it, sharp, loud, and abruptly.
Bernie jumps about a foot in the air; there's an actual bounce on the cushions. Shaking her head slightly, she sets her paraphernalia aside, and pushes up to head to the door, peering through the peephole. She's not limping nearly as badly as she was, but it hasn't completely healed, either. Seeing Kaz, she grins, and throws the bolts, pulling the door open. "Hey!"
Kaz sticks her french fry in her pocket and grins. "Heyyyy, yo, and yo. Heard you were back, thought I'd come bug ya some."
Bernie grins more at Kaz, rather proudly now, and pulls the door further back to let her enter. "Yup! An' all in one piece, too. C'mon in, yeah?"
Kaz readily heads inside, and looks around speculatively. Ambling toward the couch, she asks, "What're you abusin' deer for? An'," she adds, turning to look back at Bernie, "How'd it GO?"
Bernie recloses the door, locking it up as she replies, "Next phasea Distract an' Discredit. Think I'm gonna do it t'night. An'," she turns from the door, "it went pretty kickass. Tada! New cliath in y'r presence. Havva seat, y'wan' anythin' t' eat or drink?"
"/Congratulations/," Kaz says, with quite hearty enthusiasm. "What all you have to do?" At the question, she says, promptly, "Coke," and flops onto the couch."
Bernie limps slightly to the fridge, and pulls out a two liter of Coke. Kaz is in luck! Bernie pours a glass of it as she replies, "well, lessee. First, Elan gave me this funky gum, an' so I chewed it, an' then I went jumpin' from time t' time in th' bodya a rat... I was in a barrel onna ship, an' then th' president's desk, an' then in a sewer durin' th' Plague..." She puts the bottle back, and carries the glass over to the Galliard.
Kaz takes it happily, though she doesn't drink yet. "Geez. What fun. 'Least it's better'n getting freakin' /eaten/, like Max'n Nev were..."
Bernie shivers slightly. "Yeah, I'm kina happier with th' Quantum Leap kina thing, gotta say." She moves her backpack, and plops down on the cushions. "So, then I wake up, an' I'm in a bed in th' dark, all bruised up. An' this lady comes in with candles, an' checks t' make sure I'm doin' okay, an' she's like, she was startin' t' think I might not wake up, an' they found me all beat up an' brought me down t' their underground refuge place, y'know?"
Kaz echoes, "Underground refuge? What, like in that sap of a tv show?"
Bernie thinks a moment. "...must be a show I missed. But, they were all, like, people who hadda leave th' outside world for one reason or another, an' they wouldn' tell me a whole lot 'less I was gonna stay with 'em, an' I was like, well, tha's kina a big decision! So I got her t' talk t' me some anyhow, 'cause seemed like really she wan'ed t' talk, an' she was all tellin' me how this guy Father was th' one who made it all possible, only he got this mysterious coma goin' on, an' nonea 'em can figure out why, so his helper-guy Gideon was in charge now, an' =he= was bein' all regimented an' bossy an' shit."
Kaz nods. "Yeah, it had this guy with a lion's face who hadda stay outta sight. I never actually watched it, but m'ol' Alpha used t'say he was actually a metis who got honest work." She shrugs. "Anyways, so Gideon was being a hardass, and there were Mysterious Comas. That ain't never good."
Bernie nods. "'zactly. So I'm like, maybe this Gideon guy's all power-mongery, an' he's poisoning th' main guy so he c'n run things his way, or somethin', yeah? 'cause he's a doctor, so he'd prolly know how. And Katriona, tha's th' lady's name, she goes away a while, an' I figure I oughta do some info gatherin', so I go lookin' around a bit, y'know?"
Kaz toasts to that, and drinks about half the Coke at once. "Sneakin' and pokin', sounds good t'me."
Bernie grins, and pulls her legs up to sit crosslegged on the couch. She winces slightly as her calves put pressure on each other, but ignores it, and goes on, "...so I find this big room, with a desk an' all, an' desks always have useful shit, right? So I check there, an' mostly it's jus' notes 'bout what they need an' all, organizational stuff. There's this one li'l drawer-thing that doesn' wanna open, though, so I give it a li'l incentive, an' it pops open, an' there's a note in there, too. An' jus' then, I c'n hear someone comin', so I take th' paper, shut th' thing, an' scurry back t' th' bathroom on th' way b'fore I get caught or anythin'. An' I look at th' note, an' it's almost illegible, from tears an' blood an' rips an' crumplin', but I c'n make out a few words, an' it's all, Father... can't not... stuff like that. An' I'm like, huh... so I go back t' my room, 'cause someone's s'posta come bering soup soon, an' I don' wanna not be there, y'know?"
Kaz nods. "Yeah. Can't miss that soup." But she seems to know what Bernie means, in general.
Bernie giggles. "Dammit, y'know, I just realised, I never =did= get that soup... so anyway I just get myself settled, an' th' same guy who was comin' earlier, he comes by. An' I know it's him, 'cause there's this weird kina metallic scraping noise, an' he went inta th' room I got the note in, by th' way, so I figure it's his. An' he comes in t' say hi an' see how I am, an' turns out he's Gideon. An' he seems like a nice guy, an' we chat an' all, an' it's like he wantsta talk but can't bring himself too. So I kina try t' persuade him inta it, an' he protests, an' then goes all still and silent, an' his false arm starts slowly liftin' up, like it's doin' it by itself. Freaky, y'know?"
Kaz blinks. Twice. "Uh, yeah, I'd be kinda freakin' over /that/, f'sure."
Bernie nods, a bit more solemnly, "So. I grab it at th' wrist as it's movin', 'cause it... seems like a good idea... an' I figure, say it's all normal, an' I take it off, then it'll be embarrassin', an' that's, like, th' worst outcome, yeah? So I tell it t' come off, an' it... mostly does. I say mostly, 'cause it's still kina attached... by these big green tentacle thingies comin' outta th' stump of his arm, th' other ends in th' fake arm. An' it =smells=. An' he passes out."
Kaz says, incredulous, "'Scuse me? Worms /in/ his arm? Jesus Christ, no wonder the guy passes out."
"Heh, I prolly would too... so I kina pull an' drop th' fake arm, an' th' tentacles =are= worms, an' they start wriggling outta his stump, an' tryin' t' get t' =me=. So I'm all, okay, ew! An' I start shiftin' up, 'cause I dunno how hard it's gonna be t' kill these things, an' claws might be good, y'know? An' meanwhile, I try an' stomp on 'em, an' I catch threea th' six with my boot, an' they go *SQUISH*." She manages to make it sound really unpleasant.
Kaz appears to have heard that sort of sound before, as she makes a very expressive wince. "Um. Ew."
Bernie grins, describing the sorta-combat with something resembling relish, "so the other three worms get outta his arm, an' come after me, an' onea 'em, it can't get t' me, but th' other two, they go slitherin' up my leg while I finish changin', an' start =borin'= inta my calf, an' these suckers are freakin' huge for worms, like, snake size, three inches 'round or somethin', an' they jus' keep gettin' longer. An' it hurts like hell. But I don' wanna scream, an' have someone come see me in crinos, so I just bite it back best I can an' stomp my foot, which hurts too, but does get that third worm, at least. And ew, ew, ew, do NOT stomp those things barefoot if you c'n avoid it, 'cause that's THE more disgustin' thing I ever felt, I think."
Kaz shivers. "Oh. God. Stepping on a /small/ worm barefoot is bad /enough/. Jesus."
Matt unlocks the deadbolts and pushes the door open. "After you," he says, to someone in the hall.
"'course meanwhile," Bernie continues, "th' other two are busy burrowin' through my leg. Which I'm not 'zactly thrilled about. So, seein' as it's been effective so far, I balance myself on that leg, stomp down on 'em with th' other leg, an' try =real= hard not t' retch. 'specially when they try t' escape by tunnellin' clear through my calf. Almost fell over. So I catch my balance long enough t' yank th' resta their corpses outta my leg, shift back, an' collapse on th' bed..." She trails off at the opening of the door, glancing over and perking up at the sound of the bolts.
Kaz says, a little green around the gills, "Sounds like such fun," and stops at Matt's voice. "Hey, hey."
Max doesn't follow, but her voice can be heard. "I's watching for someone. G'head." She remains out of view, leaning back against the wall while watching the street and stairwell, arms folded across her chest.
Matt shrugs, and slouches into his apartment. He looks beat, wet, and tired. His uniform is stained a multitude of dark colors, and he heads straight for the bedroom. "Back in a tic. Gotta put on some fresh adams."
Kaz gives Matt a respectful sort of salute, brightening visibly at Max's voice. "Yo, Whitman," she calls, "Who you waitin' for?"
Bernie follows Matt with a turn of her head as he wanders into and through the apartment. "Hey," she greets him, "wha'... oh, never mind, I'll ask when y'get back." She shakes her head a little, and looks back to Kaz. "...so, right, where was I? Oh yeah..." She continues, more quietly with the door not completely shut, and watching her phrasing. "So then Gideon starts t' come to, an' I'm all hey, y'aight? An' he throws th' arm 'cross th' room with all his might, an' starts sobbin', so I'm thinkin', um, no. So I go over t' be comfortin', an' there's this big commotion outside."
Matt pushes the bedroom door to with his foot, and some small commotion comes from within. He emerges a few minutes later wearing a pair of jeans and a SCCU sweatshirt.
Tim's voice can be heard in the hall. "Hey, babe. Sorry. Had to .... up." Max mutters something muffled in return after she wolf-whistles quietly. ".. touch it an' s'all ..." A few moments later Max rolls around the corner followed closely by Tim who kicks the door shut behind him. The younger ragabash's dark eyes are twinkling. "Thought T-bone oughta get a loada Lucky since he's all growed up." Her gaze settles on Bernie. "Word?" is all she asks, though she seems to have tied up quite a lot in the question.
Kaz shivers and says, "Jesus, I sure the fuck wouldn't be no good after that kinda shit, that's f'sure. Worms /inside/ me? No /thanks/." She's brought out of her contemplation of that thought by Tim's voice, and then she starts grinning at Max's tersely worded question.
Bernie flashes a wide grin at the influx of Ragabi. "Hey," she greets them, and continues to Kaz, wrapping up her story, "...so then this old thin guy comes in, an' I'm thinkin' it's that Father guy, an' it was, an' he tells Gideon, I know y'didn' do it on purpose, I could feel allat evil shit too, an' I forgive ya, 'cause I know you'll never forgive yourself. An' they hug, an' then it's dark, an' boom, I wake up back churchward. The end." She grins, giving a mock-bow.
Kaz grins. "You," she says, firmly, "Rock the casbah. Sheeyit, I /hate/ worms..." She trails off, and then shakes herself out of that thought. A little hastily, probably so as not to keep imagining things squishing under her feet, she asks, glancing at Matt as well as Bernie, "So, now that y'all're all grown up, you still plannin' park shit, or what?"
Max tips her head a little, then slouches a hip in Tim's direction to murmur up to him, "Looks like th'Girl's a Woman, Now." Her gaze skims back to Kaz and she smirks. "/Dude/, we gotta have a whup ass /part/ /tay/."
Matt grumbles into the kitchen, retrieves a Guinness from on top of the fridge, and makes himself a roast beef sandwich. "Books, whot were ye goin' ta ask me?" he calls, spreading mustard.
Bernie grins and gives another little mock-bow of acknowledgement. "Thank ya, thank ya, no 'pplause please, jus' throw money... an', well, we been tryin' t' figure alla that out, mostly..." She trails off, glancing over to Matt, in the kitchen. As long as she looking there, she also answers him, "...was gonna ask what happened? Looked almost like someone spilled soup on ya 'gain."
Kaz mutters, "Soup? Jesus, nice second degree burns, there..." and trails off. "Figure it out how?" Again, she's looking between the two of them. "I thought y'kinda had plans."
Matt shakes his head as he finishes making the sandwich. Bringing it to the couch he sits. "Ran into anovver bloke comin' inta the kitchen. Dropped sauces all down me uniform. /And/ Oi 'ad ta clean it up. Annoyin'. Anyway, Max, a party isn't a bad idea, all fings considered. Bernie isn't the only one 'ere 'oo finished a Rite." He bites into the sandwich.
Kaz says, "So I heard..." and then does a credible imitation of an Arsenio Hall audience member, in an only half verbal gesture of congratulations. She stops fairly quickly, though.
Max unfolds her arms and meanders over behind the sofa where Matt is sitting. She lightly thwaps the back of his head. "Had a beer with your great-great-great-grandsomethin', yeah?" She grins. "You two got the simultaneous shit down." Dark eyes glimmering behind her hair, Max heads for the refrigerator and looks inside, not yet having heard an offer. She's just browsing, really she is. At least until she pulls out a beer and tosses it across the room to Tim with a "Fire in th'hole!" She goes quiet, however, apparently attentive to Kaz's conversational directly. Another beer is grabbed and the refrigerator door closes. Max heads over to one wall that is apparently covered with pencil marks and looks it over.
"'s a knack," Bernie remarks, and grins at Kaz's gestures. She glances over to Matt again, and answers the earlier question, "..well, yeah, kina... jus' tryin' t' figure it all out, I guess, th' packly stuff, I mean..."
Matt frowns. "Oi! Be so free wif those, 'at's me Boddington's. S'for special occasions, that is. You want a beer, get a Guinness from on top, like everyone else, neh?" To himself, he mutters around his sandwich, "'m goin' ta have ta post some rules o' the pope..."
Kaz's gaze travels from Bernie to Matt. "Well... What kinda shit y'tryinna figure?"
"Oi've been given a number o' offers, Kaz. Tryin' ta decide where Oi'll do the most good." He takes another bite, chewing thoughtfully, then continues. "Oi'd like ta pack wif Books, workin' as well togevver as we do, but whevver it's a pack of 'er own or someone else's is in the air, at least fer me." A glance to Bernie, sure that he's somehow letting her down.
Max is very still where she stands, regarding the wall and drinking her beer. She's slouched to one hip with a booted foot tipped up on a toe, heel against the other leg's calf.
Bernie looks apologetic to Matt for a moment; it is her tribemates filling up the room, after all. She doesn't actually reply to what he says, just nodding slightly, and looking the slightest bit frustrated.
Kaz glances at Bernie, and then back to Matt. "Yeah? I mean. I don' wanna add to your confusion or nothin', but jus' remember, we're out there. We ain't /specifically/ geared to protectin' the Park -- mostly, we're investigatory asskickers -- but it's /part/ of what we're doing. An' Bernie, with her brand of smarts, an' you, bein' a half moon and all, an' investigatin' shit in totally different ways, you'd be very welcome. But like I say, if we're too City oriented an' shit, I don' wanna put no pressure on you or nothin'."
Max takes another long drink from the 'good' beer and belches quietly, still with her back to the conversation.
Matt leans back, to include Kaz and Bernie in his gaze. "Oi grew up in London; city focus isn't a problem. Oi know Books, an' 'ow much a park protectorate means to 'er. If we were ta pack wif someone else, I'm finkin' that might be added to the pack's...um, goals." He stops, fishing for a more appropriate word.
Bernie glances to Matt again, with another bit of a nod before she looks back to Kaz, remaining crosslegged on the center cushion of the couch. Nothing in particular to add, just yet.
Kaz sits up a bit on the couch, and says, "Objectives, yeah. Like I say, it /is/ part of ours. An' -- I dunno. We ain't just a buncha people workin' together, neither. We are -- or, anyway, /wanna/ be -- a /family/, or's close as you can get to one an' not be blood. You'n Bern, I think you're already gettin' close t'that anyway, so it'd just work pretty good. You, I dunno so good, but I figure, we can grow t'gether, find out what we're good at an' bad at t'gether, get t'now what kinda pizza we like's well as what kinda banes we like whuppin' on." She shrugs, taking a sip of Coke. "Anyways, that's what Nev an' Tim'n Max'n me's after, in the long run."
Max turns around in the middle of Kaz's statement and hefts the bottle in silent agreement before settling on the floor beside Kaz's end of the sofa, one knee up and one leg curved around on the floor beneath it. She looks from Bernie to Matt with a relatively neutral expression.
Matt nods. "Seems loike th' same reason Oi'm takin' me bird wif this. Oi wanta make the best choice Oi can." He finishes off his sandwich, and the Guinness quickly follows. He stifles a yawn. "Hmm. Tired."
Kaz seems to mean "taking his time with this," as she nods. "Yeah. It's a big ol' fuckin' decision, that's f'sure. An' like I say, I ain't puttin' no pressure on. Just tellin' you shit." She looks down at her Coke briefly, and then adds, glancing upwards, "'Case y'wonderin', we ain't got a Totem yet, 'cause we're tryin' to gel as a buncha people b'fore we add a Totem, but when we go lookin', it'll probably be f'Magpie or Raccoon -- Neither Rat're Weasel really fit th' investigatory part, much's I love Weasel."
"You're workin' too hard," Bernie comments mildly to the Fianna. "...an', yeah. So, thinkin' 'bout things, I guess..." She lifts a hand, running her fingers through her curls, and then shrugs a bit. "Oh well, figure it out 'ventually."
Matt raises an eyebrow as he levers himself off the couch. "Aye, sure an' Oi am, that," he replies to Bernie. "Sound's interestin' Kaz, an' actually a point in yer favor that ye 'aven't chosen yet." He drops his dish in the sink and tosses the beer can. "Anovver time, when Oi'm awake, Oi'd ask ye more. As is, Oi've got ta turn in. Try ta keep it to a small row, eh?" He brushes his fingertips across the back of Bernie's shoulders on the way to the bedroom.
Kaz says, with a grin in her voice, "I won' do no yellin, that's f'sure," and adds, "G'night. Thanks f'listenin'."
Bernie watches Matt head to the other room, and smiles slightly. "G'night..." she calls after him, and then stretches a bit, uncrossing her leg, and pointing her toes, with a bit of a wince. Not completely healed, yet.
Kaz finishes up her Coke, and then streeetches. "/You/ got questions? Or should we clear out'n let you folks get some rest?"
Max pushes to her feet. "I's gotta go check on the Kid. See you back at the Ree." Max leaves the empty bottle on the floor and holds up two fingers in a peace sign at Bernie before heading for the door.
Bernie considers. "...nothin' comes immediately t' mind, I don' think... can't sleep yet anyhow, though. I gotta go perform a mir'cle for th' faithful, an' all..." She pauses, looking over at Max, "Hey, hold up a sec? Question. You got th' blur, right? Or 'm I rememb'rin' wrong?"
Max stops and regards Bernie. "Sure do, chica." There's an inferred query there.
Kaz heaves herself to her feet. "Yeah, ok, hold up a sec--" and then stops to peer at Bernie when she mentions miracles. Given the conversation, though, she doesn't ask, just puts her glass into the sink.
Bernie grins. "C'n I recruit ya soon, then? I'm gonna make Jesus bleed t'night, but after that, they'll be watchin', yeah? So maybe you c'n do th' followup or two? When it's dark, 'course...?"
"Hell, yeah," Max answers, the full measure of her caprice returning for the first time since she arrived. "Jus' holler 'n I's there."
Kaz looks, as she drifts towards Max (and the door), entirely glad to see it returning.
Bernie grins, widely. "Kick ass. I'll be grabbin' ya for round two soon 'nough, then. See you guys 'round shortly, yeah?"
Max nods, deftly flicks the locks open on the front door, and opens it. "Don' forget, we's partying. An' soon." And then she's out of sight and heading out, assuming Kaz will follow after.
Kaz says, "Biiiiiig partay," and in fact follows, shooting a grin at Bernie before she leaves.