2007-03-30: Whispers

Starring:

Tamara_icon.gif Judah_icon.gif

Summary: Judah gets a call that Tamara has been spotted at a church, and heads out to investigate.

Date It Happened: 03/30/07

Whispers


Church

Apparently some people do actually read the posters. And some cops spend altogether too much time at work. For when a call came in from a civilian concerned for the well-being of a stray, it actually stopped at his phone, and not his voice mail. Having evening plans of her own, the woman could only give him what information she had and not wait for the detective to arrive - the address of a church, worry about the girl's strange behavior. Nothing the woman could describe; she could only express her confusion again, before restating that she couldn't stay - and that she hoped the detective could get here before some whimsy would cause the girl to leave.

Fortunately for Judah, once alone in the building, Tamara was content to stay there. Not still, by any measure - during the interim, the girl lit every single candle in the building. Each and every one, large or small. It's resulted in quite a bit of light, from candleflames. Tamara herself, though, is not in one of the obvious places to look for people in a church - not seated in a pew, nor in the vicinity of any altar. She's out of the way, kneeling on the floor with her back to a side wall, a handful of votives scattered about the floor nearby in no discernable pattern.

Churches are at the top of a long list of things that make Judah uncomfortable, so it's no surprise when he slips in through the fire exit wearing a terse expression on his face, its worry-lines all that more pronounced by the candlelight. There are scars, too — ranging from a deep line that cuts along the bottom of his jaw to much smaller nicks, barely noticeable and long healed-over, either from shards of what might have been broken glass, or the careless slip of a razor during his youth. It doesn't take him long to locate Tamara. When he does, he lets the door click gently shut behind him, and though he takes the greatest care to make the littlest amount of noise possible, the sound is amplified by the church's cavernous interior. A quick glance around the empty pews tells the detective that they are indeed alone, and slowly, he begins making his way to where the teen is kneeling.

When Judah spots her, there's a clear motion of the girl's shoulders, as if from a deep breath. But whether relief, resignation, or some other sentiment is behind the action cannot be determined - not with her head bowed, her face hidden by a veil of tangled hair. Which should raise questions about how she knew when Judah saw her - but Tamara has proven time and again she can be aware of things she really shouldn't know. "Dark. All dark. Whispers, pulling; close, too close. The waterfall. Don't want them. Don't want them. There was no way." Her voice is soft, but the words are drawn tight; given edges by strain, sorrow, a hint of fear. None of it's directed /at/ Judah - she's just willing to share it with him.

A few feet away, Judah crouches down, his hands on the tops of his knees. His greatcoat spreads out around him on the floor like a dark, rippling puddle of leather, but as he settles, so too does it. For a moment or two, he simply listens to the stillness of the church, to the distant flickering of a hundred different flames, and tries to glean meaning from Tamara's words. Making sense of her cryptic way of speaking is still a challenge, but he likes to think he's gotten better at it since they first met. "It's okay." He doesn't know what else to say, except, "I'm here."

Tamara lifts her gaze to Judah, her eyes too dark for all the light, too much pupil and not enough blue. She seems to look through him more than at him, gaze not well-focused at all. Not fully here - but still somewhat so, fortunately. Candlelight glints off the few tear-tracks lingering on her cheeks. "For now," the teen agrees wearily. "They're twisting. Failing. Falling. Dark and darker still. Why? Why /this/ way?" Unfortunately, Judah doesn't have the answer to that plea. She runs her hands up over her face, sinking her fingers into her hair. "I don't want to look. To hear. I don't want them."

She needs help — the kind of help that the medical community can't provide. Judah doesn't understand how Tamara knows what she does, but it's become increasingly clear to him that locking her up in a padded room with a bunch of doctors isn't going to lessen this kind of anguish. Returning her to her family won't help, either. He shuffles closer, using the rough sleeve of his coat to reach out and wipe the moisture from the teen's right cheek. "We're gonna find you the help you need, kiddo. I promise. No hospitals, no doctors — we'll work something out." Somehow.

No - because her family would eventually lock her up in a padded room. All of those roads eventually wind up at the same place - where Tamara doesn't want to be. She lifts her face as Judah reaches out, abruptly focusing on him for a moment. Then the girl leans forward against him, not heavily, not enough to jostle; just enough for contact. "You tried." It's nice to have something to focus on that isn't the vast sweep of events, and this is reflected in the gradual calming of her tone as she speaks. "Not many shadows. Even fewer were good ones." She tilts her head to look up at Judah's face, smiling crookedly. It's an almost indulgent smile - sure, I'll humor you. Up to a point.

The only thing Judah can do for the moment is wrap his arm around Tamara's shoulders, tenderly holding her against him. But for all his gentleness, his knuckles are white and his tendons are taut. He's angry, so angry that he'd be shaking if he didn't have such a high degree of self-control — though none of this anger is directed outwardly at the girl, or even inwardly toward himself. His fury stems from the circumstances that have put them here, and the position that they're presently in; in the past, there was always something he could do to ease the pain, but with this — with this, he's helpless. What's worse, Tamara probably knows it. "You want to spend the night at my place again?" he asks in a voice that comes out even softer than he was anticipating. He can't leave her alone again. Not like this.

Tamara sets a hand on Judah's shoulder, offering him a more honest smile. She doesn't know anything he wouldn't say - but she can still read something between the lines. But the girl doesn't say anything in that respect; she doesn't have enough certainty to know what to say. She closes her eyes instead, nodding against his shoulder. "Tired," she murmurs. The kind of weariness that comes after high emotions finally burn themselves out. "No way to shape it. To change… Can't not watch, can't do anything."

Judah can do plenty. It won't have any affect on what she sees or doesn't see, but at the very least he can make life a little more tolerable for Tamara. If he has his way, he's going to get some food in her stomach and put a brush through her hair before the night is through. A shower would probably help, too, but that's not the sort of thing he's going to push on her tonight. "Come on, Tam'," he whispers, using his fingers to untangle a few strands of her hair before tucking them behind her ear. "If you're tired, you need somewhere to crash. Somewhere safe. Just for a little while, okay?" He has a good guess as to what she's talking about, but he's in no position to argue her point — there are some things you just can't change, whether or not you can see the future. "It wasn't so bad last time, was it?"

She's complaining, is what she's doing. But now, the girl just stays where she is for a bit longer, before drawing in a breath and sitting back on her heels. Just in time to give Judah a very blank look at the question about 'last time'. Having no desire to even /try/ looking for that memory, Tamara closes her eyes. The slow shake of her head might be construed as an answer, but it's really just a dismissal of the question. Moving on, she reaches up to brush a finger over the scars on Judah's jaw. Distracted. But then, she already agreed to his suggestion - and if she /were/ against it, he'd know by this point.

Judah tenses slightly under Tamara's touch. Being so close to another human being is a somewhat alien concept to the detective; intimacy, sexual or otherwise, is something he's gone to great lengths to avoid, if only because it gets in the way of his job. This, however, is different, and while it's also an unpleasant reminder that he'll probably never have any children of his own, it doesn't stop him from feeling any less like this one's guardian. It's a good feeling, he decides — and well worth the risks that go along with it. Carefully, he tries to help her to her feet. "You ever thought about keeping a journal?" he asks. "Writing down all that you see?"

Tamara accepts the assistance without hesitation, not that she really needs it, and shows no particular inclination to let go of Judah's hand afterwards. Though she doesn't cling, either. Small favors, perhaps. The teen looks over at the detective, and shakes her head, this time in clear negation. She could say a lot of things, but after thinking on them for a while - a fairly lengthy pause - she shakes her head again. "Couldn't," is the simple answer Tamara settles for. Much less work than an actual explanation.

The simpler the answer, the easier it is for Judah to accept. He nods, and tucks Tamara against his side, using his greatcoat to shield her from the cold and any eyes that might be watching when they eventually step outside. As long as she's the one holding onto him, he isn't afraid of losing her. "That's okay," he whispers. "Come on, kiddo. Let's go home."

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