1963-11-09 - Anima Mundi
Summary: An act of kindness for a wounded woman from the Lady of Flowers.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
rogue brunnhilde 


Two hours sleep in nearly 40 isn't enough for any sane human being, but Hilde wasn't really sane. She wasn't even fully human sometimes, people might consider. But she didn't dare sleep while she still wasn't certain if he'd be breathing. Then after it was like some long, stretched out nightmare. The last ten days have been just that — a nightmare. Starting with getting arrested. The woman on the building. The dead man on the street. Everything has been a nightmare. So, Hilde didn't sleep. She couldn't. She also still couldn't work with that wrist. That meant she walked, something to try and clear her head, to keep her body moving through time and space.

Groceries. Eventually, they needed groceries. And orange juice, especially, something to help his body build back blood. So, her slower moving steps are taking her in the direction of the nearest bodega, but lost in her own thoughts she ends up passing it as she keeps just making forward motion down the street. Absent mindedly she likes a cigarette. Even in the pale autumn, gray daylight, she looks like a ghost.

*

What to do when the known world is ending? The newspapers are strangely silent on developments, the Bugle headlines focused on politics, Soviet diplomacy, and giant bugs. Running for the hills on the cusp of winter is a fool's rush. The New Yorkers are going to be the last ones standing on Earth when trouble comes down. There will always be homework, an inevitability alongside death and taxes.

Scarlett reads while she walks, a book poised in her splayed fingers. Traffic is lighter, easier to thread around, but she goes at an unhurried pace. Reading the same passage six times has little effect. Her camera peeks out of the cloth and canvas bag riding under her arm, a frozen glass disk unapologetic about the reflections it catches. Her destination is an uncertain thing. Enlightenment? A diner? Love's last idyll on the cusp of the stars? Not so much. The city blurs past her and she has her eyes mostly upon the text, indulging in a bite of Kit Marlowe and ruin.

Scarlett's hum gives her away, a certain melody from that came from Hilde herself. Nothing like a woman striving to keep death from delivering another victim to the underworld, not even remotely. The two figures, ghost and flame, are upon a collision course.

*

It's probably more the sound of that low, haunting hum which draws Hilde out of her distant thoughts than anything. That song. Why did she know that song? She didn't know why she did, but she knew it. It resonated in her bones, somehow. She takes in a deep, slightly surprised breath two seconds before bumping into Scarlett and abruptly stumbles back.

"Shit…it's you." She breathes out. Hilde really wasn't one for polite words. Her brain just didn't work that way. She looks both startled and a bit relieved. Also, half dead, but that's how she often looks. The wrist that was so viciously mangled last week is now wrapped up in a cast that is looking like it's seen better days and has rusty brown orange stains on it that are probably dried blood. "I…I been meanin' to find you…didn't know how…" Her voice is a rasp a little louder than a whisper. Too many cigarettes, not enough sleep.

*

The hum follows memories imparted by repetition, an old song that steeps in the bones and lurks in the vault of memory where at least a handful of her psychic echoes wail. One might sing to it. The voices in pandemonium accuse when she sings her wordless tune, following the route right before coming to a total standstill.

"Whose eyes shot fire from their ivory bowers, and tempered every soul with lively heat, now by the malice of angry skies, whose jealousy admits no second mate, draws in the comfort of her latest breath, all dazzled with the hell is mists of death. Now walk the angels on the walls of heaven, as sentinels to warn the immortal souls…" Her animus vox circles around that pause, the standstill between them. Fingertips shut on Marlowe, banishing him but not his verse, which she completes without aid. That's what a good education gets you. She tips her head back and regards Brunnhilde, her eyes scouring deeper than the surface. "Hello." It serves as much as anything. "No green light. You need not worry about a random lightning strike." Or if she does, someone here will easily take the pain. Her gaze flickers towards the cast. "I go to school at Columbia. You can ask anyone in Greenwich Village for Scarlett or Rain the artist. They know who I am. Other methods are a little more difficult. Writing my name on a stave and snapping it over a moonlit pool, and all that." She could be joking.

*

Does she know those words? Surely not, but like the song, they ring something distant in her, something aching and sleeping. The monster that stirs inside. Hilde takes a breath and pushes down that wave of deja vu, having gotten so good at lying to herself about it all these days that it's pretty much habit. The rest of the commentary, especially about a stave and moonlit pool, gets a blink and the edge of a nervous laugh. Surely the woman was joking. "…Oh. Uh. Sure. I…I'll try the village first, I guess. Scarlett. Rain. I can remember that." Maybe. If she was awake enough.

And then she is awake enough to realize that she's being rude and hasn't given her own name. "Uh…I'm Hilde. I work for the 185th street EMS but… gotta be off work now… counta the fuckin' wrist…" She offers her left hand, the right being too bound for a proper shake. At least she's trying. "…you probably saved my life that… night. That was all crazy. Fucking crazy… shit that shouldn't be possible. But… thanks."

*

She is a bohemian, unashamedly. With them go strange ways, odd techniques, preserved lore and new litanies developed on the fly. Scarlett has a rooftop garden and practices yoga; that puts her in the category of New Age before anyone thought to coin this as the Age of Aquarius except the dusty astrologers of East Village. She tucks the book to her chest, barred by her arm, the cover battered and dog-eared in the way most students' manuals become. A used bookstore find for a dime, probably. "Scarlett. They'll know me." Confidence on that point stretches eons, even as she inclines her head to the greeting. "Hilde. Third time of meeting is the charm. No one in danger here."

How much of that night is recalled remains to be seen from Hilde's fragmentary statement, but she listens wordless and attentive all the same for clues. The offering of a hand is met by the faintest lift of her open palm, and terrible knowing flaring in those luminous eyes, so similar in shade to others. Loki Odinson; Amora Incantara; all the polar auroras condensed into an orb. "You would show me too much of yourself if I shake your hand. Keep your secrets a little longer. I do not deserve to know them, yet." An odd statement, but maybe not. "The night on Empire State Building. I am sorry not to have been better about defending you from what she did. Setting things to right is not something I excel at, anymore."

*

If Scarlett is a bohemian, going by looks alone, Hilde looks like a drug addict. She's got that strung out, too-lean look to her and the haunted, sunken eyes of someone who simply doesn't fit among normal society. If the other woman tastes anything Asgardian on her, it would be awful strange, because her body is absolutely unlike any of them. Not strong, hale or hearty. She seems a stiff breeze away from shattering, maybe. Or simply turning into an icicle. Still, Hilde shrugs those bony shoulders and shoves her hand back into her pocket.

"I…dunno how to set things right, don't really matter what she did, I guess, just that we stopped her from hurtin' others. I can't say I understand any of it… just that she had to be stopped. And we did. I…don't think I killed her. Though how much I gave her shoulda. I figured she wasn't quite… human. All of this shit's insane." Hilde breathes out, nervous and overwhelmed. A woman who has already seen too much of the world, only to realize there is so much more out there.

*

There are oddities within oddities for the both of them, and Scarlett in no sense ever questions the strange. But simply put, her reasons to not touch are simple: ungloved, imperfect control. End of story. She smiles all the same, focused upon the absolutes of manners with a necessary rigidity, a profound calm, that must withstand the very worst the world tries to throw at her. Hilde might shatter. The redhead is a walking black hole, fueled by genetic appetites that care nothing for creed or race or standards, and treat a child of Asgard the same as Midgard or any other realm: supper.

"She is distraught and deeply wounded. Her heart broke and possibly, with it, any moral compass she had. I will not justify what she did as acceptable, but I called her friend once. Maybe one day in the future." The answer is soft when it follows, her gaze trekking towards the tower hovering over all the rest. "This is insane. But real. You were up there, playing a critical part, and helping far more people than you can imagine. I do not know what might have turned out if she pulled off her spell." Well… actually… Scarlett probably can, given whom her teachers are. "You risked when no one asked you to. That is bravery, and a little madness. I seem to be afflicted by the latter, too."

*

"…she was unbalancing everything. It wasn't those people's time. She… couldn't kill them. I couldn't let it happen." The ragged medic says, like it's the most logical thing in the world, even if it makes no sense what so ever. Even if regular people don't care about that, really. Even if she was so outgunned on that roof she probably should have died. Still, she shrugs, half dismissing it like someone just dropped a compliment about her cooking. Not a big deal. She then restlessly shoves hand deeper in her pocket, pulling out a rumpled pack of cigarettes. She sticks one between her lips.

"…You…okay? You were fighting the shit too… I can't believe we survived." She murmurs softly, ice pale eyes now studying the elegant bohemian woman a bit deeper, as if looking for injuries she knows should be there but aren't.

*

"She was," agrees the redhead. It goes with the territory, being young, a dreamer, and probably completely and utterly unhinged if she's accepting the medic's logic so easily. The blithe nature she usually possesses lies under eclipse, fully enmeshed in shadow. "You stopped her. You did a very good thing, and one she will thank you for. I doubt she will ever say it, for that does not seem to be her nature, but to realize she burned so many lives on a pyre for a spell? It is something to be grateful for, even so." It's no big deal what she did, such that she barely even lets that truth fall upon her, no more than she suffered much when a golem tried to stave her ribs in.

She should have burst like a damn barrel. Instead she flew off a building and returned to hurl it to pieces. The only injuries are more than bone-deep. Hilde might know a soul's torment, perhaps, in which case she is a lighthouse in the night for a quiet, leaching despair and there is the wreckage of even worse lying not far down the sand so to speak. "I get by. It hurts to know a friend lost control. It's worse to have no power over any of this, no influence to balance it. That you could? That makes me happy."

*

The blonde just nods slowly, pretty much accepting everything Scarlett says as well because they are both crazy, they might as well be crazy together, right? "Well…I'm glad she… she has friends. Maybe she's just really sick. People get like that. They ain't themselves. I… I hope she gets better." A bittersweet smile cuts across her thin mouth. Then she blinks drowsily, looking to the side, only now catching onto the fact that she totally passed where she was going.

"…shit. Juice… I… I need to get juice… my man's sick. He needs… Juice. Least I can do, hand fucked… I can't help him much more." Well, other than, you know, having pulled a bullet out of him and eventually sewn up his chest after closing that sucking wound off. But that's not a thing you say on the street to a virtual stranger. "I fuckin' hate being out of work… that lady owes me a bunch of back pay." She half teases.

*

They are crazy and company is a good thing. "Friends, family. I do not know there is much difference there. The one who took her is…. more noble than most. A good man, he will do the best he can for her, even if that means she may be cosseted and coddled more than others might like.." Her own opinions on the matter are not given space, for Scarlett shakes her head again, clearing her braided bangs from sweeping across her brow. "Her sickness will resolve itself, I hope. Maybe not an easy path, but if her heart's pain can be eased, I hope that will pass." And it's that note she will end on, falling in step beside the exhausted woman.

"Come. There is a market around the corner, somewhere that ought to have it. Help him? I can carry it. If he is sick, though, he probably wants for actual medicine. You know, something that can do it. What would you need?"

*

There is a slightly distant look to her eyes, the light strangely making them seem a hint more silver than blue, even for just a few heartbeats. It's the same look she gets when she's hearing that music, or not hearing it. It flickers now. "…She…reminds me of someone. Some… I used to know?…I can't remember who. It's…so strange…" Hilde confesses quietly, voice a touch too distant, those memories threatening to take her. But then she shakes it off. Eyes blue again, tired shoulders a bit more squared. There was work to do.

"…I…I can carry some juice. Both my hands ain't fucked, at least." Her nose wrinkles at the commentary of being sick. Hilde was never a good liar, heart on her sleeve, head in the clouds. "…He… it's complicated. He's hurt. Can't… see a hospital, for reasons. It's complicated…" She repeats, not quite meeting Rogue's eyes. "I'm still a medic. I…patched him up… best I could."

*

"Does she? The most beautiful woman in the world is hard to forget. I do not say that idly. She is. Watch every man in the room turn to her, look at every woman melt in envy. Or start questioning themselves." Amora has an effect, and Scarlett speaks of it as casually as vanilla cake, and how she prefers chocolate. A cautious look follows Hilde, assuring no weakness will topple the injured woman. Tired and work-driven, she has her own demons. The best the bohemian can do is lend support the only ways she knows how.

"You can, but surely you might not begrudge me thanking you this way. A small gesture. But my friend isn't dead thanks in part to your wise thinking." Words come soft as poetry in a rainfall. "You need not express to me your reasons. Enough I can offer these things, and pop into a pharmacy if you need something specific. You may need to tell me what, naturally, I'm not a medic. Mostly."

Dimples drilled into her cheeks form as she cuts a smile, one almost tilted in arrogance against that lovely mouth. "Sometimes the best we can do is ask."

*

"No…we already got the medical supplies we need. I just need time and him to stop being stubborn. And juice." Hilde explains softly, a ghost of a smile across her ever pale features. The talk of the woman being the most beautiful in the world, it seems to threaten to make her fade out again. A trigger to other times, other memories, but she just can't get through to them. What is rolling around in her skull? Maybe she will never know. But thinking about it is enough to make her zone out and pretty much run straight into the door of that bodega. She curses, stumbling back, shaking her head clear.

"…Sorry…what were you saying? Something…asking? Juice… that's all I need…maybe some red meat… juice and meat…" Surely that's what they were talking about. If Hilde can focus enough to get that and get back to the apartment, they'd be okay.

*

"Men stop being stubborn, especially in love? Oh Ms. Hilde, you have no idea." The whimsical sigh passed into the air brushes lightly against the atmosphere. "If ever they cease to be stubborn, be wary for they have probably learned your game or ceased to recognize your existence. Only the mistresses of the game seem to know how to avoid perilous outcomes, and if your man is going along with what you want, he's probably lost too much blood." You can send your thanks c/o Green Box, Frigga's Hall, Asgard, for that one. Scarlett drifts along the sidewalk, steady as one goes, and then holds open the door before Hilde does more damage to herself. Some risks don't require supernaturally attuned senses to help with, particularly those involving collisions with sleepy women and inanimate objects.

She can't help with annoying mystics who refuse to listen to sense or lovers too besotted with one another or her own life. Sue her, it's a short list. Help where she can.

"Juice to drink. Food. Can I help with that?" Easy, short words. See, the redhead can manage. "Beef? A roast is simple enough and the smell will tempt him for days." Oh yes. There's a certain way to entice people and thanks to Sif's aide… she's a dangerous girl. If you're hungry.

*

"Love? Who the fuck said love. This isn't about love." Well, that was an abruptly immediate answer. You know about ladies and protesting too much. This wasn't about that at all, clearly. "He's not even really my… we're not like that. Really. I mean, we're just fucking. It happens. It's fine." SO MUCH DENIAL. Hilde is practically swimming up the river. But she does grow quiet as they step in, moving to get a few things. She can hold one thing, the orange juice, but she does duck over and get that at least.

"…Uh… Beef is good, sure. I can… figure out how to cook it. Can't be that hard. If… if you just help me get it all in a bag, I can get it back there on my own." She, apparently, doesn't quite plan on leading the beautiful bohemian back there right now. Even if Hilde seems half out of her mind with exhaustion, she might regularly be this crazy and just used to operating as such. She goes to the counter, putting up the juice and reaching her now free hand for the wallet in her back pocket. Surely she's got a few dollars left.

*

The lady doth… "People just fuck, do they?" Manners aside, the redhead can swear. Someone's ears are completely on fire. "I see." Only one thing in human experience gets drawn faster than a battle line, and that is a conclusion, the mind whirling and the gears spinning at a fifth the speed of light to point out exactly where and what and how. Just because Scarlett is confined to 'look, please oh god don't touch no no don't' does not force Scarlett to a position of ignorance on interactions. On the contrary, her ability to read the odds are beyond scary. See also: Sif.

A basket is snatched up in idle passing, fingers curled around it. The book ends up in her coat pocket, the bag over her shoulder still easily slung. "Get a thin cut that you can put in a frying pan and brown on both sides until done. Throw in some spices and maybe a can of soup for an addition. Something to strengthen him a bit. Broth is easy." She apparently knows exactly how to eat. "Lean there." Then, when the butcher shows up or whatever passes for such, she has a battery of requests for someone who knows how to make beef bourguignon like her life depended on it. And it does, in the form of a tiny French waif with an appetite to make Volstagg fall instantly and irreparably in love. Until they fight over the last turkey drumstick and then Mjolnir and four spells are needed to keep them from tangling over it like a pair of rabid curs.

Going to the kitchen and they're gonna get fed~

*

A slight arch of Hilde's brow comes as the woman orders entirely more things than a single slab of beef. Her pale eyes go wide as she looks at the basket, then the counter, back to the basket. "I…uh….I dunno if I can afford all that. Really… the meat'll be fine… he… ain't exactly fancy. Last time I tried to cook fancy for him it… went to shit. I think we're done with fancy. Fancy is cursed." Hilde says that completely dead pan and actually a bit wary. It's like she's SCARED of fancy, but considering the curse the last two times they tried to do anything like that, who would blame her. Still, she pulls out whatever money she has and just sets the crumpled bills down on the counter. "…pack'a Lucky Strikes too." She calls to the man there. Those are more vital than beef, really. "…and yeah, sometimes, people just…fuck. It happens." She mutters a bit quieter, though the shop keep is looking eager to get the weird women out of his store.

*

"My choice, my tab." Manners start and end right there, drawing a box around the issue, wrapping it in the shining bow of a smile, and leaving it pat. "This is not fancy. A bit of beef may not make him eat. Unfortunately sick people have a tendency to require a few simpler, heartier foods to whet their appetite and stay down. Potatoes are the best for that." She gives a glance to the man behind the counter, the wisdom of a simple nod illustrated between them with the air of conspirators that would make the Winter Soldier blush for the crudeness of his attempts.

"Boil some potatoes. Cut up some carrots and onions, maybe mushrooms. Throw them together, done. You can add red wine, but I would stick to the soup." Helpful information there. She simply glances over the produce, seeing the cigarettes and the meat are taken care of.

*

"Uh… boil potatoes. Cut vegetables. Maybe some wine. I… think I can do that. Doesn't sound too hard." A weak smile flutters across the pale woman's lips. "Thanks." And here comes the issue — While Hilde could have carried a single thing of orange juice and pack of cigarettes, ALL that food, all those vegetables, beef, everything? There is no way she's getting that in one hand up the stairs. Much less three flights of stairs. A touch of animal panic crosses Hilde's eyes as she looks to the packed up bags, back to Rogue, back to the bags.

She tries to take what she can, but two bags in and her arm is protesting. She bites her lower lip as she considers how bad it'd be to bring the woman back there. "…look…maybe you…I dunno if I can carry all this, but… he's real paranoid and he ain't gonna be happy if I bring someone home…"

*

"It isn't. You cannot mess up the wine even adding the whole bottle. The beef and the soup are nearly impossible to mess up." Nearly. One could feasibly set them on fire in ways no one understands, but that is beyond the realm of likely possibilities. Scarlett glances her head towards the man bagging everything up. "So wear a backpack. I'm but carrying my camera in mine, nothing else of real substance. Take that, no trouble upon your wrist. Walk there and one day give the favour to someone else."

Abusive boyfriend meeting a redhead, no wonder she might be prone to not want Scarlett around. The bohemian is, well, herself. That spin of activity is easily done. "Or pay a dime and ask for the food delivered? Do you?" That, to the man, gives an idea of possibilities.

*

A slight shake of her head about the delivery, but after a hesitant moment, she does accept the backpack. "No…no…this'll work. And he's not… mean. He's just…it's complicated." Hilde probably looks like every abused druggie woman out there. Too thin, too scared, too tired. Even if it's really not that, and she showed remarkable courage last week, she knows looks. She carefully slips the bags into the pack, giving Scarlett a weak but thankful smile as she zips it up and shoulders it with a bit more strength than one might think her body carries. "I…uh…I owe you. I'll find you, promise…pay ya back…I promise, Scarlett. Rain. Promise…" She murmurs, heading for the door.

*

"No one in life owes me anything. I do not reckon on balancing scales or deeds that way, or else, the lists grow terribly long and I will ever be in the debt." Scarlett passes over a few quarters to balance the cost of the meat, talent in measuring them out without checking face value prominent. Working her lower lip between her teeth, she provides a thoughtful and faint smile that overshadows any duty present. Any obligation, any demand. "Good day, Ms. Hilde."

*

"Good…good day, Miss Scarlett. You're… a good woman. A damn good one." Hilde gives her a grimace of a smile, guilt across her pale features, not certain what to do with someone so nice. But she needed the help and wasn't so proud as to not take it today. So, no debt or not, she makes some mental ticks in the back of her skull. She studies the woman a heartbeat longer, then just nods, turning on the ball of her foot and disappearing out the door.

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