2007-02-18: Mirror Mirror

Starring:

Mara_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: Mara finds Tamara alive and well in the park, as opposed to dead and decomposing in a gutter.

Date It Happened: February 18th, 2007

Mirror, Mirror


Central Park

With the sun heading towards the horizon, although there's an hour or two of daylight left yet, the day's about as warm as it's going to get. Which… is fairly warm. Enough so that Tamara's left her sweater somewhere, in favor of a shirt the same blue as her eyes. Her hair, for once, is in a state resembling neat - aside from the effects of the evening's light breeze, at any rate. She stands beneath a tree whose limbs are just beginning to sprout buds, one shoulder propped against its trunk. Her hands, she occupies with a Rubik's cube, twisting the faces about apparently randomly; her gaze is directed out into the park rather than focused on the toy.

Detective Damaris strolls through the park at leisurely pace. She may be off duty, but she doesn't ever stop working. She takes a drink from a short cup of tea and surveys her surroundings. The girl with the cube gets a curious glance at first. And then, her eyes come back to her and widen ever so slightly with surprise.

As recognition sinks in for Mara, the teen turns her head to look at the detective. She considers the woman for a moment, seeming perhaps to debate something inwardly. Her hands settle the first face of the cube into place, then stop moving, as not even a part of Tamara's attention is on the game anymore. Funny, though. Some random person met in a park doesn't usually merit such a level of regard - especially when they're not in uniform. But maybe it's just because Mara was staring at her first.

Mara smiles quickly and approaches the girl slowly, dropping her cup in the trash on her way. "I haven't seen one of those in a long time," she indicates to the toy. "Do you mind if I give it a try?"

As long as things stay quiet, as it were, Tamara doesn't mind Mara's approach. Although she does straighten as the woman comes near, her feet shifting a bit wider apart. Yes. She will run if she feels uncomfortable. But the girl isn't to that point yet. Instead, she shifts the cube to one hand, leaving as little contact between it and her fingers as possible as she holds it out for Mara to take. "No. I don't mind."

Mara takes the cube carefully and watches the face as she twists the thing around to try and line up the colours. "My name's Mara," she offers with a smile that shows the gap between her two front teeth.

Tamara withdraws her hand as Mara takes the cube, letting it fall back to her side. "Yes," the girl agrees. She pauses, glances away, her eyes narrowing slightly. "You didn't bring an umbrella, did you?" Tamara asks, looking to her companion again.

Mara shakes her head, blinking curiously at the girl. "No, I left it at home today. It seemed so nice out." She continues to turn the cube, glancing down at it every now and again.

"Hm." Tipping her head slightly, Tamara regards the woman for a moment longer; then she takes another step from the tree. Turning, the girl starts to walk through the park - casually, with a glance cast over her shoulder inviting Mara to tag along.

Mara abandons her quest to line up the cube and follows after the girl. "Do you have a name?" She asks casually.

Tamara glances back to Mara, then lifts her shoulders in an easy shrug. "I did. Sometimes." If the detective's caught up enough to see her face, she'd notice that as the girl falls silent, her eyes shift, pupils widening for a few moments then settling back to normal. "Tamara," she offers in the end, casting a smile to Mara which is a bit too proud to go with an achievement as simple as recalling one's own name… but it isn't always simple, for her.

"I thought so," Mara says gently. "Don't be afraid of me, sweetheart. I'm not going to hurt you." She holds the cube back out to the girl, giving her just as much distance as in the original exchange.

Tamara pauses, looking over at Mara with a solemn, even slightly sad expression. "Not today," she agrees easily, before resuming her forward motion. "But best intentions need to be watched carefully; they escape when you're not looking." Accepting the cube, the teen abruptly flashes a brief, bright smile utterly at odds with her previous mien. "I watched what I could, always."

"Watched?" Mara walks along with the runaway in an easy, companionable way. "You're a keen observer, I can tell."

As they walk, it seems Tamara's meanderings aren't quite aimless, as she alters course to head for a small gazebo. But that assumes it's not just a destination of the moment. To Mara's observation, the girl smiles crookedly. "Even when they're slow, the shadows never went away. Can't not see them." Her fingers go back to work on the cube.

Mara leans against the railing of the gazebo once they've arrived, smiling at the girl. "Your family's worried about you, you know. Can you tell me why you ran away, sweetheart?"

Perching on the end of a bench, Tamara gives the detective a crooked smile. "I didn't. But I know what you mean. You ask what isn't always in the mirror." As if that makes sense, she falls quiet. Yet she also knows that isn't enough of an answer, so after a moment, the girl continues. "There are shadows I don't like. I stay away from them. When I can." She looks out from the gazebo as the first drops of light rain start to strike its roof.

"Is someone in your house hurting you, Tamara?" Mara's expression turns serious. Though for a brief moment, her eyebrows hike up, an acknowledgment of the sudden rain. "Is there a reason that you left?"

Tamara twists the cube so that one face is back in alignment, then splits it up again. She smiles at Mara and shakes her head, more in dismissal than negation. "You worry too much. So did they," the teen allows. "You shouldn't." A little bit longer, and two faces come up solid-colored. Surely it's luck, since she hasn't been paying attention to the puzzle at all - but once they do, she stops and sets the cube on the bench.

"It's my job to worry about girls who go missing, Tamara." The detective approaches the girl again, still slow and nonthreatening. "My partner and I have been afraid we were going to find you dead somewhere."

Tamara sets one hand on the edge of the bench, her free hand rubbing at her eyes for a moment. "No," she attempts to assure the officer. "You didn't." A beat; that isn't quite right. "Don't. Won't." There's the right one. Shaking her head, the girl lets her hand fall to her lap, looking over to Mara again. "Even when the river floods, the mirror stays safe. Outside." That crooked smile. "You only found me when I let you." Case in point, see?

"I can get in a lot of trouble for not bringing you home, you know." Mara presses her lips together. The detective makes no move to come closer to the girl now. "Are you staying somewhere? Are you safe there? Are you eating enough? Staying warm?" She reaches into a pocket slowly and pulls out a business card and a pen.

Though Mara makes no move to come closer, Tamara does, pushing herself up from the bench and crossing to stand before the detective. She moves to intercept the card and pen, knowing and silently refusing the impending offer. "The mirror can /always/ find you," the girl informs Mara with a small, confident smile. "Paper floats away."

"The mirror doesn't know my personal line," Mara smiles and jots down a phone number on the back of the card anyway. "Please. I'll feel better if you take it." She holds out the card with a pleading expression.

The girl's smile broadens. "It did if it needed to," she replies, amusement joining the confidence in her tone. But Tamara accepts the card anyway, tucking it into a pocket. Odds are the card won't ever come out again, but… it's a little enough thing to do as the detective wants, here. "It's almost finished," the teen remarks obliquely. "Do you want to sit?"

"Sure. I'll sit with you as long as you'd like, Tamara." Mara smiles and sits down on the bench. "Can you tell me about the mirror?"

Tamara returns to her seat. She picks up the cube and promptly rethinks that idea, setting it back down again. "That depends on what you ask," the girl replies, gaze dark. "I don't want to look too far. I could if I had to," she adds quickly, "but I don't have to now."

"This… mirror." Mara looks down at her feet for a moment, as if looking for words. "It's not a real mirror, like you hang on a wall and gussy up in front of, is i'? It's… something bigger than that, righ'?" Her accent is starting to thicken up, which could mean she's tired of speaking carefully, or she's relaxing. Or, maybe it's something else entirely.

Tamara tips her head slightly, regarding Mara - or maybe her question - for a moment. Then the girl smiles. "It's real. And not real." She looks out from the gazebo, watching the parkgoers who aren't disturbed by a little spat of rain. "It's not…" Turning her attention back, mild frustration coloring tone and expression, Tamara taps on the wooden bench, for lack of words to describe what she wants to get across.

"Can I see it?" Mara gives Tamara a look of keen interest. The young runaway has got the cop's attention. "This mirror of yours sounds spectacular."

Tamara sighs slightly. The look she gives Mara is mostly resigned, with a bit of lingering frustration. "You will, you did." Then she shrugs slightly. "It doesn't matter."

"I will, I did?" Mara fixes a quizzical look on Tamara. She's honestly trying to understand the girl's riddles, and it shows. "Have I seen it and didn't know it?"

Tamara presses her lips together, a frown creasing her brow. "It…" She runs her hands back through her hair, around the sides of her head. "It is, but it isn't; it doesn't touch. Can't touch. …Can't /be/ touched," the girl finally concludes.

"Don't take this the wrong way, sweetheart, but… You aren't making a lot of sense." Mara carefully rests a hand on the runaway's knee. "Are you sure you're all right?"

Tamara smiles ruefully at Mara. "I know," she says, lowering her hands. "It's hard. The river gets in the way and there's always pieces missing." One shoulder lifts slightly, as if to say: what can you do?

"Tamara?" Mara withdraws her hand and rakes it through her dark hair instead. "You talk… like you've seen things that haven' happened ye'."

Tamara tips her head slightly, regarding Mara with a steady gaze as she settles her hands in her lap, fingers splayed and pressed tip-to-tip. "Shadows," the girl supplies calmly.

"Shadows? Can you… be more specific?" Mara leans back and waits patiently for a further explanation.

Tamara closes her eyes even as Mara asks for details, leaning back as well. "I… it…" She draws in a deep breath, pauses a moment for thought. "There are… lots of shadows. Always more. Always changing."

"Shadows of things that could be?" Mara's gaze turns to their surroundings, watching the rain.

"Sometimes." Tamara lifts her head, looking up at the roof of the gazebo. Listening to the drops as they begin to slow, although the clouds aren't quite done yet.

"What's the river, then?" Mara glances briefly at the girl, then back out at the park.

Tamara drops her gaze to focus on Mara again. "Hm." The girl mulls over that question for a bit, stifling a brief yawn. "The mirror is in the river; the river in the mirror. Depends on the day. They didn't come separate. There's shadows - and ghosts, too, sometimes. Glass and water; don't stick well."

There's turmoil in Mara's features for a moment. Her reverie is broken from the noise that erupts from her back pocket - a song. "I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like," a mobile phone proclaims as the detective pulls it into view and checks the number. "I have to take this," she murmurs as she stands up and moves away from the girl to answer her BlackBerry. "Damaris."

Tamara looks over at Mara as the phone rings, and nods once. The girl also stands up, although she doesn't go anywhere, just watches the detective for the moment.

"Yeah," Mara mutters into the phone. "Yeah, I'll head in and give it a look over. You're sure it can't wait until morning?" The detective holds the phone an arm's length away to heave a heavy sigh before she brings it back to her ear to respond. "Okay. I'm on my way." She ends the call and turns an apologetic look to Tamara.

Tamara just smiles at the detective. After a moment, she lifts one finger to her lips. "Don't tell them." It's a request. a strong one, but not a directive. As the pitter-patter of the rain finally trickles off into relative silence, the girl scoops up her puzzle and steps out of the gazebo.

"Take care of yourself." That one's a directive. Mara slips her phone back into her pocket and heads off in the other direction quickly.

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