21 March 2015
The smell instantly changes here to something greener, herbally sharp and mulchy; paved walkway drifts at angles through raised multi-tiered garden beds, reaching varying elevations of a mere foot above the ground to three feet, each held up by retaining walls of leftover stone from the houses, riddled here and there with spiraling mosaic dragons.
While companion flowers of red geranium, fuchsia bee balm, violet petunias, pastel-and-white sweet pea, are sprinkled throughout and alongside each box, it's primarily vegetables; between tall eerie trellis spires of fixed animal bones, clung over with curlicues of lush vine sheets and okra, delicate netting protects lower levels of melon and tomato, kale and tomatoes and a number of other edible foods, with a separate box of sand-loving root vegetables sending up frondy foliage for carrot and onion and garlic.
To one side, a compost heap lets of faint shimmers of heat and steam, to the other, a strongly scented bed of myriad herbs, both medicinal and otherwise, flanked on one side by a large healthy swell of coneflower. With a shed nearby housing gardening tools, the whole of it is watered by a network of hidden hosing that gives off faint tickles of mist when in use, ribboned with rainbows, and there are structures in place to suggest the garden can be enclosed in winter months.
March has finally started to deliver delightful spring days again, warm and sunny and /inviting/ outdoors. With the worst threats of frost seemingly in the past, Micah has taken the opportunity to start preparing some of the garden beds and plots for spring planting. He is dressed simply for the task: blue and green plaid flannel worn open over a plain white tee, faded-patchy-grass stained blue jeans, and sneakers. From the look of things he has already been at it awhile. Garden tools dot the area around him, with more still in their carrying pail. His knees are covered in dirt, with smudges on his tee shirt and even across his brow. Just this moment, however, he is sitting legs-sprawled in front of him with a glass of mint lemonade in hand, taking in deep-happy breaths with his face turned up to the sun.
Tian-shin wanders in from the yard, blinking in the bright sun like a newborn fawn taking her first tentative steps. She wears her long, glossy black hair loose, spilling over her shoulders onto a poncho in red-and-black geometric patterns. Her blue jeans bear complex, abstract organic line patterns, easily recognizable to those familiar with Tag's style. Expelling a slow, deep breath, she looks around the gardens. A demure smile spreads across her face, and, spotting Micah, she approaches. "Hello. Lovely day, isn't it?" She stops a couple of steps away. "I'm Tian-shin, a recent addition to Funhaus."
Rather fully lost to enjoying the sunshine, it isn't until Tian-shin speaks that Micah's eyes open and track toward the woman. He sets his lemonade down and takes to his feet, holding a hand out in greeting. "Nice t'meet you. I'm Micah." Noticing the amount of soil still on his hands brings a shell-pink blush to his cheeks. He rubs his them onto the thighs of his jeans to clean the worst of it before offering again. "That'd explain pretty handily Tag gettin' t'your jeans. Colours everythin' 'round here, even the people." This last is said with a fond, lopsided grin. "How're y'findin' the place?"
Tian-shin shakes the proffered hand, not visibly troubled by the dirt. "Nice to meet you." She looks down at her jeans, picking up one foot to examine the vinelike curlicues of white twisting along the hem. "Ah, yes, Tag is my brother. He helped me unpack, so half of my wardrobe has gotten similar updates." She chuckles, pushing a lock of hair behind one ear. "I love it, though I haven't been around much. My room still looks like a jungle gym, the way they'd kept it before. Job has kept me away--temp work, but very intensive while it lasts. Micah." Her brows furrow lightly. "I've heard about you, my brother said you took him in when...while he was in hiding."
“Oh, hey, yeah. I can see the family resemblance now's y'mention it. S'good when y'got family y'get on with. 'Specially enough that you're willin' t'live with 'em voluntarily.” Micah chuckles a bit at the clothing description. “Well, here's hopin' y'all have similar tastes, at least. Either that or he's good about changin' stuff /back/ for you.” His teeth meet with his lower lip, eyebrows lifting. “Uh-oh. Y'sayin' that with the furrow-brow at the same time's a little worryin'.” This last revelation is met with a nod. “Yeah, he stayed up in our loft at the old place for a good while.”
"We always got along pretty well." Tian-shin smiles fondly. "He practically raised me and our younger brother. Our tastes in fashion aren't /exactly/ the same, but now I can go to him any time and have him change it. I'm not quite ready to let him paint /me/, though." Her hand goes to her mouth, head ducking slightly. "Oh! Was I frowning? I didn't mean anything by it, I just always look serious when I'm thinking. I only recall him saying good things about you. Thank you, though..." She blushes. "I think you and the other folks here were better family to him than I was at that time. It was a complicated situation." Her dark eyes stray past Micah to the freshly turned bed. "I'm not keeping you from Important Garden Work, am I?"
“That's good. I think /most/ folks he just plays at their hair. It's Dusk an' Isra end up with more spectacular arrangements. 'Specially the wings.” Micah's head shakes at the question. “No frowns. Just here,” he elaborates with a fingertip tracing between his brows, his own blush deepening slightly in answer to hers. “No thanks needed, sugar. He's a friend. Mine an' Jax's both. Sometimes...it's easier for folks on the outside of a situation t'be the right kinda supportive. Families're complex. Run into that with our own kids b'fore, even. Life's messy an' ain't no shame in it. Seems like y'all got back on track, right?” The question is answered first with a giggle. “Ohgosh, no, honey. Not workin' on a deadline or nothin'. An' y'caught me just lazin' 'bout with lemonade anyhow. Y'want a glass? I can run in an' grab another. Got a pitcher up in the 'fridge.”
"Maybe when this job is over, I might let him talk me into changing my hair." Tian-shin does not sound completely convinced. "I ah, I met Dusk, the other night." This, like Micah, with a deeper blush. She looks down and straightens her poncho--quite unnecessarily. "It's...well, I wasn't even /allowed/ to contact him for the longest time, lest our father track him down, but since Dad's gone now...well, he and I are back on track, anyway!" This time her smile looks a little strained, though not completely without joy. "I don't know the first thing about gardening. Thought maybe you need to follow some sort of of almanac--planting these herbs within a day of the new moon or somesuch." She glances at the lemonade. "Oh! If it's not any trouble, I'd love a lemonade. Could make-believe it's summer already."
"Plus side, if /he's/ the one changin' things, y'can totally audition dif'rent looks all quick-like an' change back if y'decide y'don't like it." This is going to be one of those unintentional blushing competitions, apparently, Micah's red cheeks soon joined by colour creeping up his neck. "Dusk's...a character. A very lovely character." His head shakes faintly, leaving off any commentary at that. "I'm glad y'all were able t'hook up again. An'...no. It ain't that exact a science. I mean...'less you're doin' your plantin' for ritual purposes. I dated this Wiccan girl for a little while in college. 'parently the whole herb growin' an' collectin' process can be pretty...specific." His smile grows broader at that request. "That's /exactly/ what I was doin'. Playin' like that sun was nothin' but warmth. All summertime. Be right back." With that, he skips off back into Lighthaus to collect another glass of lemonade, returning without a great deal of delay.
Tian-shin's smile brightens again. "Rapid prototyping for fashion--for the colors, anyhow? I could use more 'spring' colors in my spring wardrobe, I suppose." The blushing has gotten out of hand, and she covers her mouth again. "/Very/ lovely, ah yeah, he certainly is." Micah's departure, at least, gives her a few moments to gather herself. When he returns, she has taken to examining the collection of garden tools. "Oh, thank you!" She accepts the lemonade and raises it to him. "So what are you planting, on your absence of a deadline?"
Micah passes the lemonade over with a smile of his own, before collecting his glass from its resting place on the edge of a flower bed. "'Welcome, sugar, s'no trouble." He lifts his glass, in turn, before taking a sip. "Nothin' just yet. I'm gettin' the soil prepped for it, first. But we end up with all kinds...cookin' herbs, vegetables, some melons, even decorative things an' flowers. I usually kinda stick t'the edible stuff, though. S'what I'm used to. M'momma always liked tendin' her flower gardens herself back home." The glass reaches his lips for another swallow. "You all moved in or slowly workin' things over still?"
Tian-shin nods, sipping at her lemonade. Her eyes close appreciatively for a moment. "Yep, just like summer, if you ignore the lingering edge on that breeze." Then, with a slightly sheepish smile. "I'm pretty sure I've never successfully kept a plant alive for longer than three months running. I watered them regularly and everything! Reinforcing those city girl stereotypes." She rolls her shoulders back and stretches. "Not quite moved in, no. I had to put some stuff into storage when I moved back in with mom, and just haven't gotten around to bringing it over, between the work and...all that. Soon, I hope!" She takes another sip. "So, what do you do when you're not tending the gardens?"
"See, that's actually where a lotta folks go wrong. Sure there's the inattentive ones that /forget/ things like prunin' or turnin' or waterin'. But then there's the thought that if anythin' at all is wrong with a plant, just put more water on it. Y'can certainly get too much of a good thing that way." Micah chuckles softly at the city girl commentary. "I'm sure y'get some useful skills growin' up in a city, too. Not that I'd know." As if the accent combined with the dirty jeans and flannel weren't painting that picture clearly enough. "Well, let me know if y'need help gettin' things here. I got a van for work an' she's got space t'haul things in the back, even if a lot of the shelvin' an' stuff makes 'er a bit narrower'n most vans of her model." He gives a little nod at the question. "Mostly, I'm in prosthetics, orthotics, an' assistive technology. I do a lot of work down Mendel, but also contract with a couple other hospitals an' do home visits. Other things here'n there. Technology product consultin' an' auto mechanic work an' startin' up some R&D of my own lately. Also got three kids...two of 'em just turnin' 18 today. Still kinda a /touch/ in denial on that last one." He interrupts himself with a bit more lemonade. "I tend t'ramble. Feel free t'let me know if I run on too long. What sort of things're you up to?"
"Oh, dear, maybe I /did/ over-water them." Tian-shin smiles behind the rim of her glass before tilting it for a deep draught. "Maybe I'll get a /cactus/, water it once a month and leave it alone otherwise. I'm not sure what kinds of skills I learned growing up in a city. Dodging cars? Navigating the subway half-asleep? Sword-fighting? That's a lot of busy!" She exhales long, and narrow, an impressed almost-whistle. "I am not nearly that swamped, nor that /together/. I'm pretty into martial arts--that bit about sword-fighting wasn't /completely/ random--and cooking, but professionally, I'm a lawyer. Freelance right now, splitting time between pro bono civil liberties cases and soul-sucking temp work for corporations seeking to pummel other corporations."
"If y'really mean that, I'll hafta show up with a Christmas cactus for a housewarmin' present. Real pretty flowers, easy t'take care of, kinda live forever." Micah grins at the list of Tian-shin's skills. "Ohgosh, don't /knock/ bein' able t'get around on a subway system easily. Don't got nothin' like it back where I'm from. Takes a lotta gettin' used to. An' just...learnin' how t'walk the right pace on the sidewalks 'round here, even." The grin broadens, a little goofily lopsided, several layers of blush tacking on again at the whistle. "Y'seem pretty put t'gether t'me. Anybody's gonna make it through law school's gotta have some kinda mad drive an' organized noodle, at the very least." The fingertips of his free hand brush against his temple with the last comment. "That's gotta...ugh, that sounds tough. S'that somethin' you're doin' t'pay the bills while you're lookin' for other things? At least it's fundin' the other stuff it sounds like y'wanna do more."
"I've got an empty windowsill and plenty of time away from it so I don't crowd a plant too much." Tian-shin sips her lemonade pensively. "Spent my entire life in this city, so getting around it is pretty second nature. And law school, it's mostly just putting your head down and cramming at opportune times. I'm not the best or the brightest, but I can keep my nose to the grindstone." She heaves a sigh and drains her glass. "Yes, it's just a stop-gap, but I appreciate the freedom between the mad rushes. Not /quite/ so fond of the content of those cases. Thank you, for the lemonade. What should I do with the glass?"
“That's settled, then,” Micah declares with a firm nod. “I get the distinct feelin' y'don't give yourself enough credit. But we did only just meet, so it's just a feelin' an' I'm not gonna spend too much time contradictin' you.” He reaches out for the glass when she asks. “I can take it in with mine later. An' you're welcome. Hopefully the work front starts lookin' up for you soon. Meantime...got sunshine an' lemonade an' almost-summer.”