|Davidson||They call it the Long Road for a good reason. It cuts through the heart of New Mexico all the way - they say - from El Dorado to Hope's Crossing. The pavement of ages past is long gone, the road mostly a beaten dirt path wide enough for two caravans in most places, with the occasional fencing or other boundary set up so people don't wander off and get lost.
It's near a side path that meanders downward in the direction of a hilly gulch that there's an old, repaired motorcycle sitting by the side of the road. No salvage, there's Davidson sitting on the ground beside it winding some bandages around one bloodied arm while holding a tourniquet tight with his teeth.
Just behind him, a hand-painted wooden sign points down that way, saying 'DEAD MAN'S GULCH - DANGER!'
|Shane||It's not until after the tourniquet is completed that a pained noise is audible, if a bit distantly. It is several hundred feet off the side of the road where from a distance she could be mistaken for a large buzzard, where the small, dark haired woman sits, trying to readjust the wrapping on her ankle.
Not broken exactly, the joint is swollen as though sprained, and she's takng a breather there for a minute, rather than just pausing to straighten, when standing sees her put weight on the limb wrong.
Not five feet tall, barely, on toes, she pulls to her feet to continue hobbling toward the settlement. Sure she's hours after the trader that was passing - that's what happens when they find you stowing away and you land wrong when you get tossed. She wipes sweat from her brow, streaking more road grime across her face and lifting her chin, her shoulders further sag on seeing the position of the sun in the sky.
|Davidson||After the bandages are tied off, Davidson straps a heavy bloodied arm-guard of beaten metal over that forearm, pushing himself up to his feet... and then pausing as he hears that sound, head turning slowly to look in that direction and one hand reaching slowly back to the carbine hanging over his shoulder. He pulls it up and forward, but keeps the barrel low for now, finger not on the trigger as he steps along down the road some feet, craning his neck to peer down over towards the figure walking that way.
"'Ey," he calls out finally, after seeming to judge the woman as not a threat, "You alright over there?"
|Shane||Two things happen so quickly they vie for simultaneous. First, the woman nearly jumps out of her skin, having been so busy with her ankle she didn't even parse that she wasn't alone. And second, she nods, and quickly. At least from a glance, she appears to be unarmed, and dressing in clothes that are both so old and so worn they look like what scraps have when they give up on the fabric. The dark stains that color the fabric nearly black seem to spill out over her skin where a hard tail end of a trip has already done quite the job of catching up to her.
"Yes," she says, nodding faintly, and lifting both hands, palms outward toward the larger man in a universal sign of nonhostility - see, watch those hands! "I just.... hoo..." A pained breath, "I need to find... that brahmin-fucking caravaner, who took off with what little I had." Too much weight on the ankle. It almost buckles again.
As she nears, she looks up the distance between their eyes, over a foot, to offer "Shane." No context, no qualifiers or extra detail offered unsolicited, and she's readjusting the scraps tied around her ankle again.
|Davidson||After a moment of judging the threat level that the woman represents, eyes flicking over her appearance and her lack of weapons, Davidson flicks the safety back on and shoulders the rifle over his back again, shrugging it into place.
"Davidson," he offers, then points at her leg, "You're not making it to El Dorado on that ankle, it's looking like. And I don't see any weapons on you, so come nightfall, you're kind of fucked."
|Shane||"Leg won't kill me," Shane assesses, looking down at it, as she stops more or less dragging it like a dog might. "Something -else- might," is a concession she's fully willing to make. "Provided I can't find a rock." When she gets close enough it becomes apparent that some small amount of the filth on her is dried blood from wounds she looks largely free of other than the leg.
"Still," rich amber eyes drift from Davidson to the motorcycle and back again, "...if that was meant as an offer of a ride, I'd be rather greatful. Everything out this way is... unfamiliar." There's a touch of an accent to her voice but it's not the perhaps expected strains of south america, instead it is the faint remnants of creole, cajun, if it'd been given centuries to turn in on itself after the war. "'s nice ta meetcha."
|Davidson||"I mean, if you really -want- to try and hobble all the way to town, that's reallt up to you..." A wry smile tugs up at the corner of Davidson's lips, and he jerks his head in a nod back towards the Harley, "I've got room for two on the Terminator back there, and--" He pauses, giving her another once-over, "--you probably only count as like half a person anyway, so no issue with weight load or anything."
He exhales a chuckle, "Wouldn't do much for our rep as 'Samaritans' if I left you to die out here."
|Shane||"I hardly deserve help," is the first, automatic response from Shane, even as she's dragging the leg over to haul herself up onto the motorcycle. "Think the first good thing I've done in a decade liked to've killed me." A wry smile at her ankle.
She extends a hand as if to offer it to shake, even after getting plenty physical with the bike (now straddling it, assuming he's not stopping her) The threadbare and dry rotted cotton on one thigh rips a little further with all the moving around, and she volunteers, "Think when I was younger, I would've been real taken just hearing you say that little bit. M'mother was a healer." The bit of chitin half visible from the sole of a hole-riddled boot suggests part of the ankle problems might be traced to a radscorpion which may or may not be a stain currently. "S'pose you're right about the half a person bit, though." A dark chuckle, and she may well be using that as a pun.
|Davidson||"Maybe I'm just a sucker for a pretty face, then," is Davidson's response, a crooked smile curving to his lips as he steps back over to the motorcycle with her - not stopping her as she straddles the machine of old metal and new leather, reaching out one leather-gloved hand to clasp hers firmly for a moment, "A doctor I ain't, though, so you'll probably need to find one in town. Fuck, so should I, to be honest..."
He swings a denim-clad leg over the seat of the Harley in front of her, settling in and waiting for her to make herself comfortable, "So what is it you do, when you're not gettin' robbed by asshole caravaneers?"
|Shane||"Well, I was 'supposed' to be one... but it turns out being the doc in a place and having a teenage kid delivering...." Shake of the head. Shane flashes a smile up at Davidson as she takes the hand to climb up onto the motorcycle, "Let's say I never finished apprenticing."
At the last question, the wind seems to go out of her for a second, and she settles on asking "You want the honest answer or the answer you want?" That alone should be an indicator of the flavor of the answer: dubious fucking shit. Clearly someone fancies themselves as having some integrity, though, else a lie would've come across a hell of a lot smoother. Might be a lot she was running from.
Once he climbs on in front of her, she buries her face in the back of his shoulder and curls her arms around him above the waist just below the shoulders almost. "I've never seen someone actually get one of these where it would run well enough to use for more than a block or so," she assesses of the bike, giving it another, curious, look.
|Davidson||The kick-stand is nudged back up beside the body of the bike, and Davidson keys the engine for life; the fusion engine spinning up to life with a deep humming sound that vibrates up and through the riders through the leather seat beneath them. "Whatever answer you care to give," he offers simply, glancing back over his shoulder as her arms slide around him, "I'm not going to pry, or anything. Everyone deserves a fresh start if that's what they're looking for."
The wide wheels of the Harley roll forward, and the motorcycle's soon speeding down the Long Road towards the north with just a slightly-louder hum of noise. "Used to belong to a guy from the Brotherhood of Steel," he calls back, "They've got huge sticks up their asses, but those boys know their tech!"
|Shane||One of Shane's arms loosens it's hold at the same time as the other tightens around Davidson. It would appear that once the bike gets up to speed, she's got to throw an arm out so she can play with a hand getting caught in the wind currents that their speed leaves flinging her hair like an earthen cloud about her face, strands stinging eyes and mouth if left open too much.
If the larger man catches a glance over his shoulder at the right time? It's the first time he's seen her smile like it wasn't for the sake of politeness - a whole other level of childlike exuberance leaving her momentarily off her guard. "Fresh start," is the answer it seems she settles on. For someone so small, she's got a grip like a yao guai. "El Dorado.... is it close?" she asks, when she finally seems to consider something other than the novelty of the new experience.
|Davidson||There is a glance, back over Davidson's shoulder as he notices her arm swept out to one side - unable to keep a smile from curving broad across his expression. Then he's focusing back on the road, head forward and hands upon the handle-bars.
"it's not far," he calls back over the sound of the wind, "Not by bike, at least! I mean, it would've taken most of the day if you were walking. Even with two good legs..."
|Shane||"Don't remind me!" come the words which are, this time, accompanied by breathless laughter that's lost on the wind like so much distant music. "At least it'll probably be okay in a day or two... I may not look like it, but I heal surprisingly quickly. I mean... I can take a punch." Hint of pride there, like that might be something she learned to do very much the hard way.
And then when she lowers her hand to wrap her arm back around Davidson again, there's a faint shift in the motorcycle's center of gravity as she slowly (and comparatively carefully) leans out past the one side to look off over the road ahead of them both. "How fast does this thing go?!?" Delighted sound and useless question, she's clearly not been riding anything but brahmin, horses, or other beasts - if that. Still, she radiates excitement, the speed more than enough to thrill her even without a number stuck on it. "Are you from here? Is there anything I should know about before we get inside?"
|Davidson||"I haven't the faintest idea," he replies with a laugh that carries back over his shoulder, "The speedometer's never worked since I got my hands on-- whoa, hold on--"
The Harley swerves to the right side of the road, the entire bike tilting slightly, then straightens out as they evade a dead mole-rat laying in the path. Once he's straightened up, he breathes out a chuckle, "Sorry about that. Yeah, I'm El Doradan, born'n bred. It's a decent town; people're good folks for the most part. Even the Whitecloaks, even if they -are- a bunch of assholes. And the Vault City guys are stuck-up as all fuck."
|Shane||When the bike tilts, there's a sound that is a repressed squeak of surprise, the following fear of the motorcycle tipping translating into a tightening of pale-mocha arms. She has to turn her head, look over her shoulder for the near-missed corpse.
"That's alright... this is fantastic." Yes, holding her bound up leg is just a 'touch' awkward, but she tilts her head back, luxuriating in the way it tangles and steals through her hair. "There's a whole Vault CITY?" She rocks forward a touch, one eye squinting to look up at his features through the whipping tendrils of night that are her own hair.
|Davidson||Another laugh is carried on the wind at the woman's reaction, his free hand lifting from one of the handlebars to briefly clasp one of those arms around him in a reassuring contact. Then he's back to driving, the looming shadow of the city walls beginning to rise in the distance up ahead.
"Yeah," he replies affably, "They all live down in one of those old Vaults - I'm not sure what the number is, but the people down there wear the suits and all. I've never been myself. They're all rich folks and shit."
|Shane||"Yeah, my father used to carry, like, letters... for years. I've seen a vault before, but it's hard to picture one of them as being, you know, a city unto itself." The brief ensuing quiet would indicate such is a mental image she's currently working on, in fact.
At the contact, her arm flexes a little in a brief squeeze, and she tries to look around Davidson's shoulder toward the looming shadow. "That the place?" she asks, tryning to affect a clinical gravity that is... fooling no one and lost in the wind having a field day with unbound hair. "Rich." There's a touch of spite there. She spits before she thinks not to. A shake of her head. "Good riddance, right?" there's something of the search in the last, trying to feel Davidson out before saying too much - though the spitting did plenty to dissolve any faint veneer of neutrality.
|Davidson||"That's the place," he affirms, "Won't be too much longer 'till we hit Shantytown, at least. That's where I live, outside the city proper..."
The motorcycle chews up the distance rapidly, though it's a bumpy ride; the lack of pavement has its disadvantages, one of those being potholes and uneven ground, though he moves to avoid the obstacles as best he can. Closer to the city, there's more fencing and other signs of occupancy, the occasional shack visible off the side of the road.
"Let 'em have their old houses and their vaults, if you ask me," he calls back, one shoulder lifting in a slight shrug, "They're chaining themselves to their money. Give me a new horizon and a sunrise I haven't seen before..."
|Shane||It seems like Shane's going to say something in response to the letting them have it assessment. Whatever that something is, though? Not revealed. She closes her eyes for a long beat as the distance between the motorcycle and the settlement is closing.
For a split second, just how long the trip's been shows. In that once she's relatively comfortable (and clearly trusting the larger man to keep driving, or else too tired for it to matter) her head begins to droop, really almost imperceptible, the way it does. It's actually the *snap* back to awake attentiveness that makes her flex and tense and go rigid all over for about two seconds.
She's offering a drowsily comfortable but apologetic look up again, then, "Sorry... sorry'bout that. Do you have any, thoughts on where might be a good place for me to try and..." First she hesitates. Then she takes a long moment. ".... I guess stay long term." She shivers as the chill of the impending night combined with her lack of useful clothing result in more than a tiny chill. One of the 'only' things that isn't made better by a motorcycle: wind.
|Davidson||It doesn't take long for him to notice that she's drifting off, though so long as she doesn't release him he doesn't try and wake her up. No, he just drives, the ramshackle walls starting to rise up into view. Once she snaps to attention - and wakefulness - he glances back over his shoulder.
"I just have a shitty little shack, myself," he admits, "Plenty of space in Shantytown but... well, you'll probably want something nicer? Think there's some hotels and shit in the city proper, if you've got some caps."
|Shane||It's not long she's drowsing, not long at all. And the adrenaline rush thanks to almost falling? Check.
A little more quietly than she's been speaking, the words lost easily enough in the sound of the whipping wind, Shane says softly, "I'm... more used to your kind of setup. Weren't my caravan after all." The ankle's a reminder she couldn't afford such even before she got the clothes and weapon taken. She bites her lip, cheek pressing into the back of Davidson's upper arm as she shakes her head, "If... you let me crash at your place tonight I'll tell you more, and maybe we can find something to work togther on so I could pay my keep?"
|Davidson||It's a question that has him glancing back over his shoulder in a bit of surprise, a chuckle felt stirring in his shoulders and back with her pressed against him as she is. "If you'd like," he admits, "You sure you want to trust some random wastelander that much, though, a pretty li'l thing like you?" Closer, now, the walls clearly visible, pikes here and there for defenses though it's clear that Shantytown itself has made those walls and defenses from spare scrap more than any serious architecture.|
|Shane||"I dunno," Shane muses, working to keep the corners of her lips from curling up too much, into too wide a smile at the assessment, "I can handle myself mostly! I mean.... when I can walk."
Touch of red in those cheeks, yes, she's mortified about 'that' first impression, but she relaxes when she sees the walls of the shantytown. "Hell, once I had someone tell me I fought harder than a pissed off deathclaw, but... even I ain't crazy enough to stick around and test -that- theory." She laughs, accompanying another brief squeeze, shift of a hold on Davidson. "Anyhow, I never made any promise to be anything but a random wastelander myself, so..."
|Davidson||"You haven't tried to rip my arm off yet, so," Davidson lets go of one of the handlebars to lift his arm, the bandages still wound down around beneath the arm-guard as he calls back a joke, "I'm going to give the deathclaw the edge there, to be honest..."
The bored-looking guards around the entrance to shantytown are passed with a casual wave, that one of them returns - the other not looking up from a dog-eared magazine - and the bike slows down a bit, pulling off to the side of the road.
|Shane||When the bike slows and pulls off, Shane blinks to look up and around herself. She looks at the old magazine. Dark eyes traverse the faces of the bored looking guards with a certain wariness, new to the place, and studying everyone.
Laughing at what's called out, she offers, "Well, you know, you haven't exactly tried to get up near my nest either, right?" She can't help but look amused, the look one she makes no move to hide.
|Davidson||Boots long stained with road dust hit the side of the road, finally, and then one lifts to kick down the stand, parking near some other beaten-up vehicles not far from the gate. Shantytown's all shacks and huts and buildings made with scavenged materials, a patchwork city with no clear blueprint - the actual town of El Dorado's walls visible further north, above some of the tin rooftops.
Davidson glances back over his shoulder, flashing a grin as he teases, "Well, now you've put the idea in my head--" A chuckle, then, and he sweeps a hand up, "Welcome to El Dorado. Home of the Samaritans."
|Shane||"Place I came from," Shane assesses, looking around, "Lot like this only... well, gatorclaws.... bloatflies... things like that. Lots more water, but... that's not necessarily a good thing, you learn, once you run out of something to take the bugs out."
She take a step or three off from Davidson, peering around in study, "Which one's yours?" she asks, smiling at the tin rooftops. "Used to climb up the side of our place to sit on the roof a lot when I was younger." It explains the vague nostalgia, at least. She rubs at her face, and manages to smear most of that big smudge of grime off her face. "You like to do that? Just kinda find some place high and lonely where you can watch everything?"
There is some assistance that she's seeking when she goes to climb off the motorcycle, trying to keep from having all her weight on one foot as she's trying to stand, her hand lifting to his shoulder, dragging her none too great weight against him as she half pulls herself up.
|Davidson||"You're about as far as you can get from a lot of water, I can tell you that..." A low chuckle stirs through Davidson's words as he half-turns back towards her, one hand raising to rest above her hip and offer an additional support point until she's on her feet. Then the explorer's dismounting himself, his head lifting to look at the tin roof-tops with a nostaglia-warmed smile of his own. "Oh, yeah. I spent a lot of time up there when I was younger... I still do. Sometimes it's the best way of getting around."
He turns back to look at her pointedly, "You should get that leg looked at, first off, though."
|Shane||"I.... wasn't lying. I'm pretty good at medicine, not just like, the actual medicine bit but the first aid, too. It's not broken, it just hurts like hell." It takes a moment of her thinking on the words, before Shane tilts her head up to study Davidson's face, thoughtfully. "Thank you." Why being told that would warrant thanks, is a little more open to speculation.
"I am..." she draws a long breath, then just admits it, winking an eye open to look back up at Davidson, "... so not equipped to explore anything, like, I try, you know. But no, I always wind up forgetting like, the exact thing I need, punching something, and going home." She grins, at that.
|Davidson||At the thanks, Davidson offers her a wry smile; head tilting in a nod down a bit, eyes closing briefly as he does so. "You're welcome," he allows, before spreading his hands a bit to either side, "There's a knack to it, really. You've got to have a good eye. And memory. Or at least--" One hand drops, and he raps on the leather tubes tucked into a hip-pouch, "--you've got to be good at writing things down. Wasteland cartography's more art than science, really."|
|Shane||"Tell me your place is hung with all sorts of fascinating maps of the world as you've explored it?" That's new. Hope. And then it's subsumed and replaced primarily with just the smile there.
The small, slender woman follows Davidson's hand with her eyes as the tubes are rapped upon, studying them with interest. "What's your favorite place you've explored, you figure?" she asks. She seems in no hurry to veer off away from Davidson to explore or anything of the sort. In fact, she's lingering maybe. It would be easy enough to wander off.
"Art? Hell, no wonder I'm terrible at it." Shake of the head, "I am good at like.... three things. None of those is art." Chuckle.
|Davidson||"Have you been stalking me? You already know what my place looks like..." A teasing note of voice, one hand coming up to rub against his jawline as he regards her in mock-suspicion for a moment - then drops it with a grin, turning to look back across the street. "Ah, the favorite place I've explored? Hell, you wouldn't even believe me, Shane... hell, -I- wouldn't believe me."|
|Shane||"Know? Know?!?" Shane chuckles to herself, bandying the word about with tones of faux surprise. She shakes her head and manages a crooked grin, the entirety of her mouth wanting to pull off subtly to one side with it.
"Hell, I just stabbed around a little in the dark and threw out what I was ~quietly hoping~." The last two words spoken as she rocks back on her heels, peering curiously between shanties, "Has this all been here a very long time?" she asks. "Sometimes it's hard to tell with, you know, found building materials." She looks across the street then, herself, and up to Davidson, hitching a thumb toward the place that draws his gaze, "That one yours?"
|Davidson||"Oh, yeah," Davidson admits, chin raising a little to indicate it - a small ramshackle little place that's mostly roofing welded together over what's probably a wood frame... or possibly PVC. Or maybe parts of a car frame. It's hard to tell from the outside, really. "That's my place. Never park too far away." He breathes out a chuckle, then, "It's been here awhile. I mean, mostly the inner city, the vault - you got the ranches and shit up there too. Shantytown just sort of grows around wherever the city spreads."|
|Shane||Nodding at Davidson, Shane looks off after the tilt of his chin. She nods as she studies it from the outside, perhaps in a bid to find good hand and toe holds, perhaps merely to try and get what minutia of insight she can from the place's exterior about the one who calls the place home.
"Looks cozy, y'know. Home-y." Her hair is a mass of (currently quite wild) wind-whipped curls that she tries to pull around to rest against one shoulder. "So... when we get inside...." she takes a long breath, "... when we get inside, I'll tell you everything." She rubs her neck, looking from Davidson to the shanty and back, questioning silently.
|Davidson||"If you're sure that you don't want to go get your ankle looked at..." Davidson turns back to the bike, leaning in and pulling a small cylinder from the engine - tossing it up, catching it out of the air and tucking it back into a pocket of his jacket. Then he's offering an arm over, one brow lifted and a smile tugging up at the corner of his lips, "Shall we, then?"
It's been built to be easy to climb, it seems, although nothing so obvious as a ladder; a slight slant of one of the walls, scattered car handles welded onto that same wall, leading down close to the top of a dumpster that'd be easy enough to clamber onto. The front door itself is wood, with metal fence meshing stretching across it.
|Shane||"I'd love to," Shane offers, smiling and trying to comb some of the knots from her hair. Her dark eyes follows the slant of the wall, the handles of the car doors, and she can't help but smile to herself. Another one of those that lights up the whole face.
"Thank you," she says, as she looks up at him. "Yes, for the place to crash, but, also for the ride." She rubs her cheek, and heads inside.