|Fern|| It's near sundown, the little buildings and small homes blocking out most of the leftover sunlight and casting Shantytown in shadows. A light rain falls, the kind that feels more like a gentle mist that settles in as night begins to spread across the land. Some people linger on the dirty streets, playing card games and placing bets while others are in their shacks with the doors closed tight.
Fern isn't in either of those places, but she's closer to the latter. Her home isn't much of a home. It consists of a damp piece of plywood making up the right wall, a piece of sheet metal making up the left, and the back wall is concrete since it's just built up against an existing building. An old blue tarp lies across the top to act as a roof, and the door? It's a wooden pallet that's put to the side since it's 'open' right now. Sitting in that doorway is Fern, her knees bent and pulled up tight to her chest as her face hides behind her knees.
|Abigail Caine|| Gale pretty much assumed that Fern was living in a pile of rubble when she heard the tale of a fancy home that doesn't leak coming from the teenaged girl at her bar. She observed Fern as she cleared tables, kept the scrap food, and accepted the handful of caps she was being paid for her troubles. Then Gale decided- rather discretely- to follow Fern back to her place. Gale's a scout. It's what she does, and it's not as if she's going to just walk down the street after her.
Once confirming Fern is among the shanties Gale would have wandered off.
Gale doesn't actually complete her mission until the second day. Which is when the rough-talking, softspoken Gale is approaching that shanty. She actually takes off her glasses and double checks, squinting slightly as the dark shades are tucked onto her collar. then the woman pulls down the bandanna screening dust from her lungs, and approaches with her face visible for once. Blue eyes study the home intently for a second and she moves over to the 'door' with her hands clasped behind her back. She hesitates for a split second.
Then Gale calls softly, "Are you okay? ....Fern?"
|Fern|| There is little movement coming from the young girl as she sits in the doorway, arms tight around her knees to keep them squeezed against her chest, but anyone who studied her might see the slight shuddering tremble that comes from crying too hard for too long. By now Fern has calmed to sniffles, and as she hears a voice she knows calling her name she lifts her chin and looks up.
Fern's face is red and tear-streaked. The tears have washed little lines of dirt from her face, leaving her looking like the mess she is. Her eyes are puffy and red, and her nose is a bit snotty. Fern sucks it all back up into her nose then, and looking a bit embarrassed she turns her face and looks away. She doesn't dismiss Gale, however. Her cheek rests atop her knees. She may not look at the other right now, but she could if she wanted. Her nose twitches a bit and she stares across the street.
|Abigail Caine||Gale shakes her head and moves forward and over to the gil. She turns and breathes a quiet sigh, looking out toward the street. Then Abigail crouches down and wraps an arm over Fern's shoulder, drawing the teen against herself as she studiest he people surrounding them. She removes her hat from her head and pauses, licking her lips before placing it on Fern's. No words at all anny longer. Gale doesn't really see her way to any that could help.|
|Fern|| Fern is tense to the touch, the arm around her shoulder causing to coil up tighter like a snake preparing to strike, but luckily she doesn't. Not like she could do much harm any way. The girl remains holding her knees as tight as she can for a bit longer, but soon she is starting to relax and lean slightly into Gale. Another sniffle shakes her shoulders, and as the girl frowns deeply she leans over into Gale, deciding to hide her face against the other.
She leans heavily into Gale, sniffling a bit more, saying nothing at all. It continues for a while, long enough to give Fern the time she needs to collect herself, and soon she whispers to the other, "S'not my place.. Just watchin it.. for a friend. Till they get back."
|Abigail Caine|| "Okay," Gale responds quietly. She'll hold Fern a mment after that statement, letting the girl lean into her chest and just listening as she sniffles. Gale even makes a passable attempt at stroking Fern's back... Actually, she's good at being a comforting presence, and is very patient besides. "I could use an extra hand tonight though," she offers after a moment. "I have a spare cot in the corner that's gathered some cobwebs'n I could use someone to shake it free." She squints then, still staring into the distance.
"I know it's not as nice as your place but if you want to come help me get it set up then you can stay over. I'll even share the rabbit stew, I guess, though I don't expect as you need it."' A pause follows. Then Gale whispers, "'ve got something for you anyway. Given how much work you've been doing 'round the Saloon. Haven't paid you proper yet."
|Fern|| Fern sniffles once more and breathes a slow sigh as she listens to the offer, which has her murmuring, "That's an easy job. You scared of spiders or sumthin'?" She snorts lightly, but she's still leaning into the embrace, staying that way for the remainder of the offer.
What pulls her from the hold is the mystery of just what Gale has for her, and as she slides slowly from the arm she sits up a bit taller. The girl wipes at her face with her right sleeve, and she wonders, "Oh yeah? I'm.. I'm not hungry, but I could come see what you have. Besides.. you do owe me. Like.. thirty caps anyway."
|Abigail Caine|| "Yeah. Terrified of spiders," Gale responds drily. She shrugs then and takes a deep breath. Oncce Fern pulls away the slightly taller woman is on her feet and taking a deep breath. "Thirty, do I? We'll see about that. You come with me and I'll get you somethin' for your work." She shrugs her shoulders at that and moves to put her sunglasses back on. Yes, even in the dark.
After this Gale starts to walk, her boots sounding a soft report that nevertheless clearly denotess where the woman is heading and how fast. Fern can follow or not if sshe pleases. It is, however, obvious that her "payment" will only be acquired one way.
|Fern||Fern remains seated there at her little shack as she watches Gale rises and getting ready to go, and she continues to sit for just a bit longer. Fern eventually rises up, looks to see where Gale is going, and then she dips back into the home for just a few seconds. She emerges with her backpack on, a pair of spurs on her shoes, and she gives her face another wipe with her sleeve. The hat on her head is straightened out and Fern hurries off after Gale to catch up.|
|Abigail Caine|| Gale actually has a relatively nice home. It reallly doesn't leak, for one thing, and the floor is in passable condition. She keeps it actively tidy and there's food in her cupboard, something elsse that is rare even if it is smoked radbeast. The rabbit stew is boiling over the cooking fire in the middle of the little place- which is mostly stone and thus impervious to fire. Gale has a bed and the aforementioned cot in a corner. The cot is not put up but any fool could see it was moved recently. It isn't even dusty.
Gale holds her door for Fern and squints, studying the room intently wit ha furrowed brow. "Well, here it is," she states seriously. "Like I said, could use some help with the second bed and..." she shrugs once you've got that set up I'll see about getting us square. Alright?" With this Gale moves to the "kitchen" and opens up a panel in the floor. From there she opens a small footlocker and inside of that is- something.. Fern isn't allowed to see what.
|Fern|| "Must be some spider.." Fern murmurs as she enters the home and sees that the cot seems to be just fine. She slowly lowers her backpack to the ground, and once it's off she heads on over to the cot and sets it up. She moves it back to where it probably was earlier. Look at that! And for all the talk of spiders, well, she does give a quick look around just in case there really was one.
With the spider inspection passed, Fern turns in time to catch the panel being moved to reveal the footlocker. With hands on her non-existant hips Fern mentions, "You really shouldn't open a secret compartment in front of someone if you wanna keep it secret. I could totally just take it all while you slept or something.. run off and sell it.." She tsks, a little sniffle running through her. "Good thing I'm not an asshole all the time. I'll pretend I didn't see that." She does look curious, though.
|Abigail Caine|| "It's not really that secret. I know exactly who has seen it and since I know Katherine isn't about to come in here and rob me the list of people I'll string up tomorrow morning is really short. Four foot ten, I think, though it might be eleven." Gale glances at Fern and watches her seriously for a second. "I don't expect it will matter much for long."
The woman rises carefully then, leaving the box open. In her hand is a wrapped bundle about a foot long. Sheturns toward Fern and watches the girl from where she is standing. A slow breath is taken and then carefully exhaled. One beat. Two. "Well, if you're wondering what it is you may as well come over here." If Fern does Gale will proceed to unwrap a matte black Colt M9 pistol, complete with holster.
"Ever learn how to shoot?" Gale arches a brow at that.
|Fern|| Fern is there in a jiffy, taking a few large steps until she's in Gale's personal space, real close and getting a look at whatever is in that bundle! It's small.. and there isn't many things it can be! Better not be a sling shot!
As Fern sees what is unwrapped she goes wide-eyed, her grin reaching from one side of her face to the other as she all but squeals, "A gun!" Yes. A gun. "Wow!" The girl reaches out to take it, quickly, and she looks it over just a bit before she is trying to holster it and get the belt around herself. "Yeah! I mean, naw.. Never really shot anything.. Well, I got my hand on my dad's gun once, but didn't hit anything I needed to. Nearly shot his foot off, so he didn't let me have it no more.." She shrugs and quickly looks down, buckling the holster in place. Now she turns side to side, showing it off to herself.
|Abigail Caine|| Then Abigail reaches out and calmly draws the gun right out of Fern's holster. She squints at it then looks between the weapon and the girl in front of her.
Gale purses her lips and then states flatly, "You can keep it on you after you've learned how to shoot and, more importantly, stow your weapon safely. You'll keep it on you when you're out around town, clean it regularly, and until I've decided no one is getting their foot shot off you'll be staying here.
"If you follow all of those rules then this is yours. If you shoot anyone who doesn't deserve it I'll know."
|Fern||"He-ey!" Fern calls when the gun is taken. She gives Gale a real mean pout for that! Hands go to her hips again and she grunts, but accepts the rules. "Alright, alright. Okay. I'll learn how to shoot right and I'll clean it all the time and I won't shoot nobody unless they're bein' a huge dick and deserving it. Swear, okay?" she promises, nodding to Gale. Afterwards she studies the woman for a while, silence taking over until she manages to say in a lower tone, "Thanks.. For.. Everything," she shrugs, "Ya know? Thanks."|
|Abigail Caine||"Well, don't thank me yet," Gale responds with a faint shrug. "You still need to build a bed tonight."|