#417 - method to madness
Being around sestra Alison in her current state had upset her. No matter what Alison had said to the contrary, it was always a weary-brittle reassurance, part-truth that she was happy to take her in, and part-lie that it didn’t bother her.
And so - because no matter how quietly Alison was upset, she was still upset - she’d left the Hendrick home.
She’d never particularly given much attention to the phone Sarah had given her. But now, after a few weeks on her own, the chirp of it draws her attention, and Helena stops, checks it, reads the text, lips moving silently along with the words, and puts the phone back on the little shelf she’s created for herself without answering it and brings her hand back to her mouth, smiles around the hangnail she begins to chew on.
The majority of texts she receives are from Sarah, although majority is being generous. It’s not passing judgement as much as it is being realistic; her sestra-blyznyuk leads a very busy life.
Luckily this one is no emergency, and so she lets the text go, knows she’ll have time later to download the picture of Sarah and Kira that Sarah’s sent her, conserving the battery, and heaves herself up from her seat in her new home to go outside to figure out where she’ll be getting her next meal from.
#469 – burying ashes
The desert is nice at night. During the day they are sticky and hot and dust settles dry on her tongue if she opens her mouth, and Sarah moans endlessly about the constant walking, the shite food at the nameless diners, and the heat, though she refuses to put her hair up to keep it from sticking to the nape of her neck.
But it is Sarah’s way, and Helena grins. And now, with the sun gone down, the two of them sitting around the fire, it’s quiet – the tourists gone, the other campers further down the road at the campsite. Sarah sits with her back to the truck’s wheel, looking tired but still present as she finishes off one of the sandwiches she’s made them for dinner.
It’s a shame they couldn’t bring Kira because Sarah had told her that Kira had asked to come. But they intend to sleep under their truck, to eat and drink only what they’ve brought, and to climb rocks that Cosima has told them about, and none of that is appropriate for an eight-year-old, or so Sarah’s told her.
She’s finished her own food and sits in silence – Sarah used to talk to fill up some of the silence if it went on for too long, but they’ve left that in the past – adding twisted little bits of brush to their fire, careful to keep her hands away as embers pop. “Will you be joining me?” Helena asks, and is surprised to find that her voice is not loud as it usually is (sestra Alison’s mouth often frowns when she speaks), but is in fact muted in the immense stillness of the night.
Across the fire, Sarah reaches up, drags a hand through her hair as she grins lop-sided. “Think I’ll just watch,” she replies with amusement, and Helena could have guessed as much. “Someone’s gotta keep the camera rolling, yeah?”
Helena nods back in agreement, thinks of the climbing shoes Cosima lent her and curls her fists, eager for rock under her palm, fingers searching for holds, and wouldn’t mind a picture to keep as a souvenir of being here with her sestra in the middle of nowhere together. Cosima had shown her how to climb things because she’d taken a class, once, and when Mrs. S had learned of that she'd bowed her head, face cupped in her hands, muttered for Christ’s sake, Cosima, and Helena had been amused to learn that Mrs. S worried about her as much as she did about Sarah.
“Our family will want photos,” she agrees, and Sarah makes a motion to toss something at her, a head's up – after a second, Helena holds out her hands, catches the wrapped-up part of the sandwich Sarah can’t finish.
“I’m heading in,” Sarah says, and scrambles under the truck, calls, “You?”
“Yes,” Helena agrees, and sticks the sandwich in the pocket of her coat, knows she can finish that once she’s curled up warm in her sleeping-bag. She grabs a stick from their pile of wood, rakes cinders over the coals, and tosses on another couple of logs before agreeing, “Me, too.”
They may not be twelve anymore, but there’s still time for fun. Which, unfortunately, Sarah knows and anticipates now. Helena slips into her sleeping-bag, gets her sandwich out and gnaws on a corner, watches as Sarah shifts before getting comfortable, facing her.
“Goodnight,” Sarah says sternly, and Helena wrinkles her nose, sticks out her tongue, and feels Sarah – softly, jokingly – nudge her shin with her toe, as if to drive the point home. No more talking or moving around, and especially no midnight flashlight-usage, which she'd learned yesterday made Sarah very cranky the following morning. “Alright? We can't all run on three hours of sleep like you.”
"You are soft!" Helena jokes, and takes a bite of her sandwich, announces loudly, “I cannot wait to wake you up at ass-crack of dawn for climbing rocks,” using the phrase Sarah has said earlier, and nudges Sarah back, because with Sarah and Felix touch means I love you.
There is a bark of laughter from Sarah, and swearing, and another nudge to her shin before Sarah reaches up, drags part of the sleeping bag over her face, and grumbles goodnight Helena once again.