Stand Off


Who: Brett and Hannah
Where: The vicarage
When: Late afternoon

His wheelchair was still a piece of uncomfortable stained shit, but at least it got him where he wanted it to now without a lot of hard work and an annoying squeak. Most of the rust was gone from the wheels and it moved smoothly. Hell, the thing shone in places, but then Brett had worked like hell on the fucking thing all day. Or most of the day. It was easier than thinking about things anyway. Things like the fact that his room might be liveable, but the kitchen was a fucking death-trap and he couldn't get himself to go in there. The galley shape meant that he wasn't convinced he'd be able to turn round once he entered and it'd kicked up his claustrophobia like nothing else. So, right now, he was fucking starving. So far today he'd managed to find some food in his bags, along with the note from Eris. He'd balled it up and thrown it away. She was a fucking liar, she'd lied to him - he wouldn't put it past her to lie to him about not lying to him. People couldn't be trusted. People were just waiting for the angles. She'd even admitted it to his face. What she'd been - clearly what she still was. And he'd given her the benefit of the fucking doubt. He'd been understanding. He'd been a fucking fool who deserved everything he fucking got and it was better off that she was out of his fucking life.

He was sat out on the porch at the front of the house, recovering from his latest attempt to brave the kitchen. Latest failed attempt. He needed the air, so he was sat there, in his piece of crap chair, eyes closed, head back a little, just breathing. It was cold, but he'd lived through colder. There was the smell of impending snow in the air - he refused to think about what that would mean for her if all the houses were locked up. Or worry about whether she'd taken her meds today. Fuck her. Fuck all of them. He just wanted to be alone.

Hannah was of a similar mindset. She'd returned to the vicarage with Jason to get all her crap together to move - she'd given up on finding workable tools to break into her old place, but at least living with him and Emma was better than this creepy house. Finding the amount of belongings she had left significantly smaller than when she'd been in her house, it wouldn't take long to get everything ready - she figured out fairly quickly that it seemed to be only bedroom items that had made the trip with her. Which meant she had her knife, but not the mask or her reader, both of which had been in the kitchen. She had her cello, but not the loop machine or the amp, which had been in the living room. Half her books were gone. She supposed she was lucky Anubis slept with her instead of in the kitchen or some shit, she wouldn't put it past them not to bring him along. She was pissed.

Taking pity on her, Jason sent her upstairs to get some air while he grabbed the last of her things, but her decision to fix a snack for them had not helped. No braille on the cabinets or foodstuffs, no reader to try and figure out the labels of the random shit she'd managed to find after nearly slicing her fingers open on a knife in the cutlery drawer, and no one around to ask unless she wanted to go back down into the creepy basement and take even longer to get out of here. Giving up in utter irritation before she went crazy and started throwing shit, Hannah stalked out to the front porch, taking minor satisfaction in slamming the door behind her with a muttered but extremely heartfelt, "God damn it."

Brett winced as the door slammed shut. He'd heard the footsteps, but had hoped they'd be going elsewhere. But, clearly, no such luck. Fuck. "Can't you go have your little temper tantrum somewhere else, goldilocks?" he muttered, keeping his eyes closed for now.

Jesus. It figured. "My hair is not blonde and this porch is big enough for two," Hannah responded acidly, "so go fuck yourself. All I want right now is a few minutes of silence, Brett. Is that too much to ask?" She also wanted to kick things, but wasn't really in the mood to indulge in front of him, so she restrained herself, feeling that familiar tension settle itself in her shoulders and back, one hand clenched around Anubis' harness while the other fisted at her side.

Brett didn't respond, just keeping his eyes closed, his head raised slightly, maintaining his position. Not that she would know, but he did it anyway, greeting her request with the utter silence of ignoring her. God, but that took a huge fucking effort.

To her surprise, he didn't have a snarky comeback. Or if he did, he'd kept it behind his teeth. She could deal with that. Hell, she'd probably be ready for a fight in a few minutes, but right now she just needed a second of quiet so she wouldn't scream. Or break her toes kicking the porch railing. Closing her eyes, she focused on doing some deep, quiet breathing to calm down. It wasn't really working.

He could feel her there. Even with his eyes closed, he could fucking feel her there, taking up the space, intruding on his search for some kind of peace and solitude. Bitch. Fucking bitch - why couldn't people just leave him the hell alone? "Look, princess, just... take a walk, or something, kay? You want a few minutes of silence? There's a whole fucking town out there. Hell, there's fuck all for miles, so how's about you just go... get lost and have your silence some place that's not here," he told her, eventually, not able to bear it any longer.

Her slow, calm exhalation turned into an irritated huff as he spoke - she knew it'd been too good to be true. "I don't want to," she said. "You're the one who's got the issue, you deal with it. I'm just fine ignoring you." She really wasn't - even silent, he sort of hovered there at the edge of her people-radar - but for the sake of pissing him off, she could pretend to be unmoved. "Just shut the hell up and enjoy... whatever the fuck view we have from here."

He opened his eyes, looking up at the clouds above him, then lowered them to look out across the 'view'. "Yeah, great view - the fucking graveyard," he quipped. "Weren't you moving out? Wasn't that what you said this morning? That you were getting out of here? You should get onto that - it's gonna snow soon. Wouldn't want you to get trapped here against your fucking will or anything," he told her, heavy sarcasm taking any suggestion of being after her best interests out of his tone.

"Don't get your panties in a twist," Hannah shot back, hand clenching tighter into a fist as she worked to keep back rising irritation. "I'll be gone before dinner." And at least she'd have Jason to tell her where the fuck shit was in their kitchen. "You'll have plenty of time to celebrate before bedtime."

"I'll make sure the champagne's on ice," Brett sneered. Yeah, right - what a joke when he couldn't even get himself into the fucking kitchen. That was a joke, dinner was a joke and he'd starve to death before asking for anyone's help. He didn't do 'help' - especially not now. He'd find something, somewhere. He'd find somewhere else, where he could get into the kitchen, where he didn't have to put up with other people. Somehow he would, though he didn't have a fucking clue how.

"Yeah, well, at least you'd be able to find it," Hannah muttered, biting back several far more insulting comments she could've made. She was irritated at him, sure, but she hadn't meant to insult him so badly the day she'd gotten the mask - it had just happened. And she was determined not to let this shit turn her back into the person she'd been in the old house. Not when she needed as many people around that she could trust as possible.

Brett looked over at her, catching the mutter. "You seem to be doing okay yourself," he pointed out. At least, she seemed to do pretty damn well for herself.

"Yeah, in my own fucking kitchen," Hannah said, bitterness crossing her expression briefly. "Where I had shit labeled." The scientists just loved to drive home the fact that sometimes she couldn't even do the simplest shit for herself without help, didn't they? Bastards.

Brett frowned a little. Actually, he hadn't considered that, it gave him pause, though only for a moment before he clouded over. "Sucks to be you then," he shrugged, looking back out over the graveyard. They all had their problems. None of his business.

"Yeah, right back atcha," Hannah said, scowling. Honestly, who did it not suck to be in this goddamn town? Everyone was fucked up to varying degrees, some just more than others. She let go of Anubis' harness in order to cross her arms over her chest, partly for attitude and partly for warmth. For his part, the dog just moved slightly to press against her leg, keeping contact for whenever she was ready to go again.

Brett snorted a dull laugh, though it was bereft of any humour. "I do just fine, sweetcheeks, but thanks for the concern," he told her. He didn't want pity. From anyone. Especially not from some blind girl.

"Oh, that's a good one," Hannah said, with her own short, sharp, humorless laugh. "Trust me, the last thing I am is concerned. You're a big boy, you can take care of yourself." Which was why she wasn't bringing up the Cortez thing again, either. Besides, what had she been thinking? Cortez wouldn't go for him, not when he could find her.

"Too damn right," he muttered to himself. He could take care of himself, he would take care of himself - he didn't need her or anyone else. "Well, glad to hear that," he told her, louder, the actually response he wanted her to take from this. "And I'm sure you can get someone to lead you around and figure things out for you."

Hannah caught his first mutter - she had sharp ears - but didn't say anything. And then forgot what she would've said when he spoke again, louder. "Fuck you," she snapped, ignoring the fact that she'd been steeling herself to do just that when she got to Jason's house. "I'd rather go hungry. I don't need or want my goddamn hand held - by anyone."

"You could always pick a can and hope it's not dog food," Brett suggested, not letting up on that. Hearing her continually telling him to fuck off gave him a perverse sense of pleasure. He wanted to get her back up, keep her back up, chase her and everyone else away so he could just be alone. Alone without the world giving a damn about him so that he didn't give a damn about the world.

Hannah mostly suppressed a flinch at that - he didn't know how close to the truth he'd just hit. Nothing as embarrassing as dog food, of course (thank God Anubis ate dry food), and it hadn't happened in quite a while, but she'd opened her share of inedibles while searching for a meal. "Oh yeah, that's a good one," she muttered. "What else you got, Dane Cook?" She needed to walk away, but didn't. She'd gotten in the lick about his wheelchair last time, might as well let him get it out of his system so she could stop feeling guilty and start verbally abusing him again.

Brett eyed her and didn't respond, instead turning and looking out over the graveyard. He wasn't making shots for her entertainment, and if she was asking for more, she could go fuck herself, he wasn't a fucking puppet on a string. He wasn't playing that game.

Hannah would've been amused if she weren't so tired and irritated. So that was how she could get him to shut up, was it? Jesus, if that wasn't fucking preschool reverse psychology bullshit, she didn't know what was. All the same, she filed the technique away and took a deep, quiet breath to try and calm down. She'd moved past cold and into frozen, but she toyed with the idea of staying out here until Jason finished downstairs. Better than playing Crazy House inside.

Brett shook his head. If she wasn't going to be leaving, then he would. He wheeled himself round and headed for the door, stopping directly in front of her. "You're in my way," he told her, bluntly, though he probably could have just about got past if he'd really wanted to.

She should move. She knew she should move. But damned if he didn't bring out her inner five-year-old's tendencies towards stubbornness and irritation. "Oh yeah?" she said, raising an eyebrow. "What're you gonna do about it?"

"Well, if you really want the weight of me and my chair rolling over your foot, please, feel free - don't fucking move. But I'm not a small guy and this chair's probably made of cast iron, looking at the piece of crap they gave me this morning, so you'd probably end up with a few broken bones. Your choice darling - all your choice," he told her, easily, the smirk on his face evident in his tone.

"...Touché," Hannah said after a moment. But she was still irritated, so she moved, all right - very casually to go lean up against the doorframe, body firmly in front of the knob. "God forbid you roll over my foot," she said dryly. Kind of fun, baiting him.

Brett wasn't impressed. For all she was fucking blind, he was fairly sure she knew exactly what she'd just done. Fucking bitch. He was half tempted to just go forward and bodily push her out of the way. He could, he knew - she wasn't that heavy and he had good upper body strength. He just didn't do that kind of thing. For all his bark was bad, he didn't really have any bite. Not real bite anyway. So, instead, once again, he just sat there, staring at her - even if she couldn't see him. She was playing with him, he knew. Today was not the day for games.

She could practically feel the weight of his stare on her, but she wasn't bothered. Nowadays she couldn't help but to win staring contests. So she just crossed her arms and kept her face pointed in the direction she'd last heard his voice. She could wait - all it'd take was one 'please' and she'd be out of the way.

Any other day he would have given in, he would have bitched, he would ahve cursed and got activelt angry. But not today. Today he could see what she wanted and he wasn't playing. Today he wasn't playing any of their games. He'd played hers, against his better judgement and it had come back to bite him, just like he'd predicted it would and had just started to allow himself to think it wouldn't. He'd been a fool, an idiot and he wasn't going to start that again with someone else. She could stand there until she froze for all he cared.

The more he sat there silently, the more determined Hannah became to wait him out. Maybe she would freeze solid before the end, but at least he was out here in the cold with her. She wasn't exactly sure why hearing him ask nicely was so important - some mix of wanting to win this one, needing something (however minor) under her control after having so much taken away this morning, she didn't know. Jaw tightening, she settled in for a long wait.

Well, apparently this was going to get very boring, but Brett could be bloody minded with the best of them when he so desired. And right now, he definitely so desired. He settled himself further into the uncomfortable chair, knowing he'd have to move himself sooner or later - this one wasn't padded the way that his normal chair was and pressure sores majorly sucked - but for now, he wasn't going nowhere. Not unless she moved, anyhow.

Hannah knew one of them would have to break soon - it was really too cold out here to be doing this. Hell, half the reason she had her arms crossed and her jaw clenched was to keep herself from shaking or her teeth chattering, two things she hoped he didn't notice. She was at a slight disadvantage here - she had no way of measuring how close he was to giving up. "Guess you're not that interested in going back inside," she murmured, voice as steady as she could make it. Fuck, she wished she'd brought a warmer coat.

Brett eyed her up and down. He'd been search and rescue for years, he'd worked most of his adult life and a good portion of his teenage years working in the outdoors. He was good at assessing people, at judging their condition - especially when it was exposure related - and he knew cold when he saw it. Himself, he'd put on a heavy jacket before he'd come outside - it was cold today, it had been cold all day, he'd wanted to sit out alone for a while, so he'd made sure he was dressed for it. And yeah, he could feel the cold against his cheeks, but he was willing to bet that he could outlast her. He'd frozen on a mountainside before now, he could sit out on a porch until it started to snow, if that's what it took. So, he simply didn't answer her, wondering just how disconcerting silence could be to someone who couldn't see.

The answer was 'really disconcerting.' If she hadn't been so sure that she'd hear him leaving, Hannah would've thought she was by herself. But she was fairly certain she'd know if he left the porch - if he could, she didn't know if there was even a ramp to get down. It'd suck for him if it didn't. The longer she stood there, however, the more common sense reared its ugly head. This wasn't accomplishing anything, except perhaps turning her blue. If she wanted to butt heads with him, she could pick a setting where she had a bigger advantage. This was dumb. So dumb. But neither was she about to admit the weather had gotten the better of her and slink inside at his heels. With a bitter scowl on her face, she wordlessly straightened from the doorframe and stalked to the side of the porch, stopping when she came up on the railing. She thought she could manage a few more minutes, enough to try for some calm, to try shaking off this stupid, childish challenge mode and then get back to packing. And he could go fuck himself.

Brett inclined his head, knowing she couldn't see it, and wheeled himself to the door, opening it and heading inside. He stopped in the doorway and looked back at her. "Wouldn't stay out here too long, Red - it's gonna snow," he advised, before continuing inside, letting the door close behind him. He didn't feel any kind of sense of triumph because she moved first, he just knew that he wasn't going to be played. Not by anyone.

"I'm not a redhead, either," Hannah sniped, not bothering to turn in his direction. "So go fuck yourself." The door closed on any response he might have, and she went back to sulking. Maybe she'd stay out here until Jason came to get her. But probably not.