"Who you call stupid?"
Across the Rift - Cabin In Maine
The small cabin is not getting any less crowded -- probably that's a blessing, it would mean nothing good if it did. But. Also. It's not getting any less crowded, and the mass of teenagers crammed into it do not have much less reason for stress. There are at least some more supplies here, several people cooking food in the kitchen, some working on organizing the supplies that have been brought in.
Some just trying to cope -- of which K.C. is nooot very successfully one. She's in a corner by a window, staring not out it but at her feet, shoulders hunched and arm wrapped around her shins, fingers twitching rapidly at the air. Pinching twisting again. Again. Again. The invisible soup of electromagnetic signals around them is shifting just barely perceptibly with each flick of fingers. Still in the same clothes she's been in since she left, unshowered, she's grimy and definitely not smelling too good by this point -- not that the stuffy cramped cabin overall is exactly unripe.
Nanami has been helping with supply organizing since she returned from town, but drifts away from this project, downing a trio of Advil sans water as she goes. She grabs a blanket off the couch, wraps it around her shoulders, drops to thunk down on the ground -- not too near K.C. Her nose wrinkles just a little. She pulls the blanket tighter. "Aue, when you shower last. Nobody in it now, you grab it quick."
Also on supply detail, Kelawini has been distributing the items they brought back and chatting up those recipients who seemed receptive. Now she follows her sister over--though not too closely, maintaining a habitual distance to keep their powers from accidentally interacting. "You doomscrolling there? Here you got choke doom fo scrolling ya?"
K.C. shakes her head. Then just keeps shaking it, quick and jerky. "Always in it. Too quick." The shaking doesn't stop, kind of in time now with the twitch of her fingers. "Too much news. Too much noise." A pause. "Lots of doom. Here. Lots of doom, lots of doom, lots of doom."
Nanami has just been hunching down into her blanket, chin propped on her knees. She sits up straighter at this though, breath speeding and her eyes shooting open wide. "Doom here? Coming? We need to go? Are we packed? We're not ready, we should've stay ready."
Kelawini is also alarmed, straightening up where she had started to lean against the wall beside the window. "You mean here here, right now?" Her eyes cast around the cabin, at their classmates napping, choring, or generally fretting. "We get us guys ready to go wikiwiki if dere buggaz comin'."
The shake of K.C.'s head grows jerkier. "Coming -- not coming. Not coming, not coming. I can say doom. I see doom." She drops her hand to her lap but lifts it again just as quickly. "Here. Only dinner. Not doom. Not doom yet."
Nanami sinks back down with a heavy exhale and a faint tremble in her limbs, sudden tears in her eyes that she wipes aware fiercely with the edge of the blanket. "Half what you say I don't understand," she tells K.C., a little brusque. "Dunno if spouting about doom gonna put anyone at ease though. What's it you see?"
The blink of Kelawini's eyes is startled and uncomprehending. "Wait--it coming or not coming? Can't be both." But in the next moment she seems to have assured herself that K.C. is solidly indicating non-doom, and she subsides back against the wall in a relieved sag. "Damn, you scare us! Can't you--change the channel? Not so much news, not so much noise? Easier fo tell if danger come?"
"Not doom yet. Not coming," K.C. repeats with another hard shake of her head. "Can tell. Can always tell. Can tell --" Her fingers flutter once more in the air, but then drop to her knees. She looks up, looks around the room. Looks back to her feet. "Many things. See many things. You don't understand. Everyone -- don't understand. Stupid. Stupid."
"Mebbe not always," Nanami barks a somewhat joyless laugh, "or we no be hea, huh? Still good though. Keep an eye out -- or -- ear out or --" Her brows scrunch, head cocking and hand waggling toward K.C. "What, more things than -- ai." Her face rearranges itself into a scowl. "You tell me betta I understand betta. Who you call stupid? We all trying. Mebbe you try too."
"Can't no one always see everything," Kelawini agrees earnestly. "But we know, you see plenny." Then she bristles, as well, crossing her arms over her chest with a firm will as if to remind herself where they should stay. "Kay den, we no can see what you see, how dat stupid? So tell us! Or..." She flails one hand vaguely between herself and Nanami. "Show us."
K.C.'s words trail off into a low steady moan. She thumps her head back against the wall, then thumps it harder. "Stupid," she says again. Leans forward, dropping her forehead to her knees. "Not -- not seeing. Not saying. Can't say. Stupid."
She stays slumped against her legs for a time, but then sits up. Flicks thumb and forefinger against each other, eyes fixing slightly to the side where one radio wave has pinged subtly more focused. "See. Boring. Justin Bieber. Grammys." Another twitch. "Wheel of fortune." Another -- this time her free hand points to the window, where in the distance a bundled figure is scurrying down the sidewalk, a faint screen glow barely discernible from here. "-- 'missed my bus be late for dinner'." Another, as a car passes by, her voice now mimicking a smooth automated pleasantry: "In two hundred metres, turn left." She slumps back down again, rocking more slowly this time. "Don't just hear it."
Nanami's scowl isn't going anywhere -- but then, neither is she, settling in with elbows on her knees and blanket tucked tight. She doesn't look at K.C. now but at the air around them, focused intent, though this still results in an initial: "Wait, what?" Her fingers scrunch into her blanket. Her eyes dart to the window. Back to K.C. "Don't just... kay den what." A small flush pinkens her cheeks. "Easier if we had some phones. To show."
Kelawini is chewing hard at the inside of her cheek. "Can't say," she echoes, at a delay. "Not stupid, neither. Just--hard?" This uncertain as her eyes flick back and forth, trying in vain to track the signals that are, without a mediating device, quite invisible to her. "So you see--hear--everything? Electronic, anyway. Too much? Dat what you mean?" She nods her agreement to Nanami. "Or if you count like one phone, hea--" Finding no word to insert here, she defaults to gesturing between her head and her sister's, again, "--how we feel um."
K.C.'s hand drops, fingers curling tight against her jeans. Uncurling. Curling again. Her forehead thumps several times against her knees with her steady rocking. "Hard," she agrees, quieter. "Hard. Too much. Hard. Can't say." Her hands clench again. "Can't keep you safe if I can't say."
Nanami is shifting uncomfortably as K.C. continues rocking, flicking an awkward glance to her sister and inching just a little back against the wall. Hugging the blanket tighter, scrubbing again at her face. "Look --" This comes out sharp at first, an irritable huff of breath. Her cheeks puff out; she looks to the window for a few beats, then back to K.C. "Mebbe don't try fo say. Time comes, just show us."
Kelawini meets Nanami's glance with an exasperated shrug. Her arms pull tighter across her chest. "Hard no mean--" Stops, here. Studies K.C. uncertainly. Glances up at the invisible infosphere around them and heaves a deep sigh. "If no can, no can," she says at last, a bit reluctantly but with a sort of dogged determination that seems at odds with the apparent fatalism of her words. Then, "We try find odda ways, ya?" She tips her head at her sister's suggestion. "Lidat."