#Leah'sHouse – February 24, 2022

Francois hurries out the front door, one hand reaching for the railing as he begins to bound down the stairs. "I've got it!" he calls out to Leah, lifting the small device.

Leah gives a small, weary nod of her head, ignoring the stinging in her side. "Yeah..." she offers quietly but, before she can say anything else, her attention is drawn back to her father. One hand moving to favor her side, she climbs back to her feet, a small, pained sigh escaping her as she does. For a brief moment, she considers moving to meet him part way, hoping to save him from having to get too close to the bloody scene

that's played out on their front yard. Unfortunately, Crux' presence doesn't particularly allow that. Even if Leah is to take the young woman at her word, it was only moments ago that she was reaching for a weapon. She's not about to let her out of her sight, so she remains beside the pair. "Were you able to contact Redrock...?" she asks, holding her free hand out.

Francois passes a glance to Crux and RC, still feeling plenty confused over what's transpired, but he's not in any position to begin asking questions. His gaze almost immediately bounces off of the blood-soaked batarian and returns to his daughter. He tries not to focus on the blood coating her hand as he sets the device in her palm. Before he can answer her question, his gaze shifts to her other hand, noticing the tear in her

shirt and the way she presses on it. The blood that's staining the ripped fabric around it. His worries are confirmed when she moves her hand, giving him a clear look at the gash across her side. He gives a distant shake of his head. "No-... We were unable to get a signal. We tried both Tara's omni-tool and my own but-... nothing." he explains quietly, brow pinching with concern as he studies Leah, "...You're hurt."

Leah frowns as her father reveals that he's been unable to contact help, already activating her omni-tool. The glow of the device's interface springs upwards, intermingling with the steam from her breath. Her father's concern prompts her to cast a brief look down at her wound before offering a small shake of her head. "...I'm fine." she says, her tone sounding a bit more dismissive than intended given her preoccupation as she

scans across the hologram. "Shit. I'm not getting a signal either."

Crux ' eyes dart back and forth between Leah and Francois, eyes widening in realization. "Oh! Fuck!" she exclaims, the interface of the beat-up old omni-tool strapped over the sleeve of her jacket activating as she goes to interact with it without considering how the action could be taken by the woman in front of her.

Francois doesn't seem to be put at ease by Leah's assurance, gaze once more falling to the open wound on her side. Leah's confirmation that she's unable to get a signal either draws a sigh out of him, but his attention is quickly pulled Crux' way when she speaks aloud. He doesn't seem to perceive the woman's movements as a threat. There's just more confusion on his face.

Leah on the other hand, is quick to rotate her body Crux' way as her hand shoots to the omni-tool on her sleeve. "Hey!" she calls out, one hand reaching out across her father, urging him back to keep him out of harm's way if it comes to that. "Hands where I can see them!" she warns. If the implied threat beneath her tone wasn't apparent, the blue glow that begins to shimmer around her probably gets the point across.

Francois' attention shoots back and forth between the two women as he's ushered back by his daughter.

Crux flinches, hands quickly moving apart from each other and up above her head as she looks down at the ground. Her palms face Leah, fingers stretched out. Five on the left hand, four on the right. Looks like she's missing one. The interface is still active, orange holograms wrapped around her left arm. "Nonono! It's-... uh- Signal jammer." She moves her thumb slightly to indicate the antenna sticking out of her backpack. "That's why you

can't call out." she explains, whole body tense and gaze locked on a spot of bloody snow between her knees. Without her beanie the short, curly black hair that covers her head is visible.

Leah studies Crux in silence for a moment, body tense and arm remaining stretched out in front of her father to keep him back behind her. With a deep breath, she offers a few small nods, stern expression carved into her features. "Okay..." she relents quietly. "Kill the jammer. But as soon as it's down, I want your omni-tool with your sidearm." Her green eyes flick towards the discarded pistol in the snow. "Understand?"

Francois remains perfectly silent, gaze scanning across the antenna that rises over the woman's shoulder as it's indicated. This is all too much for him.

((she relents quietly, blue glow dissipating.*))

Crux nods without looking up, the fear that's obvious in her face easing a little. "Got it." she says, telegraphing her movements clearly now as she goes to interact with the omni-tool again, casting a brief look at Leah to make sure she's not about to get her neck snapped before her attention turns to the interface. She makes a few quick key-presses. "Done." she informs before starting to undo the strap of the omni-tool. She fumbles a

bit, nerves shining through, but soon it lands in the snow next to her gun with a soft thud.

Leah watches the young woman like a hawk, unwilling to take any chances, especially with her father out here. But as the omni-tool is tossed aside, a bit of the tension leaves her body.

Francois watches the exchange with no small amount of discomfort, far from used to finding himself in situations like this. He lets out a breath that he wasn't even aware he was holding when his daughter seems to ease up. "What do you need me to do...?" he asks.

Leah gives a shake of her head, already bringing her omni-tool back up in front of her. "Right now? I need you to go back inside." she says, offering a nod to herself when she sees that she has a connection once more.

Francois doesn't seem happy with that response, brow furrowing as he steps up beside Leah. "I can help..." he begins.

Leah looks up from her omni-tool, peering at her father through the glowing interface. "Dad, please..." she pleads, cutting him off. Despite her best attempt at not letting her frustration color her tone, the stress of the situation is visible behind her green eyes. "...I've got a lot on my plate right now and I can't manage it all unless I know you and Tara are safe, okay?" she continues as she navigates to her contacts. As much

as she trusts Crux' intentions- her friend's life depends on her cooperation, after all- she's not about to wager her father's life on it. For all she knows, the woman could merely be buying time until reinforcements arrive.

Francois looks as if he's about to protest before a bit of slack enters his shoulders and he lets out a breath, nodding his head softly. "Okay..." he manages, suddenly feeling every year of his age weighing him down. Powerless to help his daughter. Disappointed in himself.

Leah lets out a heavy breath as she seems to pick up on Francois' disappointment. "Maybe-... maybe you and Tara can assess the damage to the house?" she offers, gaze bouncing towards the blown out window, "It's probably gonna be a day or two before I can get anyone out here to fix that. Maybe see if you two can come up with some way to seal it up in the meantime?"

Francois props up a heavy smile, giving a few nods. He's not stupid. He's well aware of what she's doing. Giving him that small opportunity to feel useful. A menial task to feel in control of something. But it's better than sitting around and waiting. "We have those boxes in the pantry." he muses as an idea hits him, cocking a thumb back towards the house, "Me and Tara can probably break a few of them down and-..." he cuts himself

off mid-sentence, seeming to realize that he should get moving. He draws in a breath, offering another set of nods and shooting one last glance Crux' way before starting back towards the house.

Leah nods to the suggestion as she taps Halisi's name. "I'm sure you two can come up with something." she agrees, signing off on her father's plans as her focus returns to her interface.

Crux ' gaze flicks back and forth between the two of them once more, hands dropping into her lap as she remains where she is despite the cold seeping into her legs.

With the jammer disabled the signal goes out without issue. It takes a few seconds before the call is picked up. "Hello?" Halisi's voice, sounding a little concerned. She doesn't get calls from Leah all that often, and it's a bit of an odd hour. It's hard not to expect trouble with the year they've had.

Leah chews on her bottom lip as she waits for the call to be picked up, a bit of dread settling into the pit of her stomach. "C'mon..." she mutters under her breath, shifting her weight from one foot to the other as the winter chill begins to find it's way into her bones. She breathes a quick sigh of relief when Halisi answers, only to quickly find herself faced with having to deliver bad news. "Hey, it's Leah..." she says, that

'something's wrong' weariness discernible in her voice, "...I-... ummm-..." she sucks in her lips, a heavy sigh inadvertantly slipping out, "...I need your help."

There's the briefest of pauses before a reply of. "...what do you need?" comes through.

Crux just listens silently from where she is.

Leah brings her free hand back to her wound, idly covering it with her palm as a sharp pain shoots through it. Halisi's complete willingness to help when she has no idea what she's even getting into causes Leah to briefly close her eyes, a pang of guilt hitting her for constantly dragging this poor woman into these situations. "You know I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important." she pre-empts before preparing the doctor with a deep

breath. "...I've got a batarian here with a gunshot wound. It's-... a long story." she continues with a shake of her head as she steps over to RC, lowering into a crouch on the balls of her feet beside him. "Male. Young. Maybe-... I don't know-... early 20s? I think I managed to stabilize him for now but he's lost a lot of blood." She gently runs the thumb of her free hand around the wound site, attempting to verify that he's

no longer bleeding, "Pretty sure the round hit an artery."

There's a sound of shuffling on the other end of the call, and when Halisi's voice sounds again she's in work-mode. "Where are you? Is it safe?"

Crux swallows and looks down at RC again, her hand coming to rest on his arm.

Leah's gaze remains fixed on RC for a moment, nodding to herself at Halisi's questions. "I'm at home. I-.... yeah." she nods again, green eyes flicking to Crux, "...It's safe. We're in the front yard right now. It's-... pretty cold out, but I'm worried about trying to take him inside. I don't know if the round punched all the way through him, but I'm not seeing any blood pulling beneath him." she continues, tilting her head a bit

as if to try and better make sure that statement is true, "I'm afraid that might change if we try to move him." She falls quiet as she waits for Halisi's input.

For a time there's only sound of movement from the call, but then Halisi replies. "...keep him there, but try to keep him warm if you can." More shuffling, a door swooshing. "I need you to tell me where the bullet hit."

Crux doesn't notice Leah's eyes on her, her attention fully on RC.

Leah nods a few more times, ponytail bouncing behind her as her fingertips gently trace along the medigel she applied to RC's wound. "Chest. High on his left side." she explains, briefly shooting a glance over towards the body of the man in the exosuit to see if he was wearing any sort of jacket.

The dead merc is indeed wearing a jacket. Brown, and lined with some sort of wooly yellow fur. Halisi's words come faster this time. "Check his breathing for me."

Crux seems to have a moment of realization, and seeks out Leah's gaze as she starts to work her two tattered jackets off, hoping to avoid a repeat of the previous incident.

Leah's attention is pulled to Crux when she catches the younger woman's eyes on her and, as she realizes what she's doing, gives her a few silent nods, not wanting to speak up and interrupt the woman on the other side of the call. "On it..." she offers Halisi as she drops to a knee, dipping her head low overtop RC and tilting it to the side as she attempts to map out his breathing.

The batarian's breaths are short and shallow, but they're coming at a steady pace and there's no rustling or other odd sounds.

Crux removes her jackets, leaving her in a worn hoodie. She carefully works one jacket under RC's head and the other under his legs. He's dressed much the same as her, many layers covering his chest. More to put over him would probably be good.

Leah remains still as she listens, green eyes resting on Crux while she attends to her friend. She shifts just slightly so the jacket can be placed beneath the batarian's head. "No gurgling or rattling. Sounds like his lungs are clear." she explains, taking an opportunity to climb back to her feet as she speaks. "Just a-... uhh-... bit shallow..." she continues, snow crunching underfoot as she hastily jogs through the snow towards

the exosuit and begins to work the jacket off of the man, setting her omni-tool down on the armored plating of the suit to free her hands as she works.

Crux glances after Leah as she takes off, remaining where she is.

Halisi wastes no time in speaking again. "Good. Do you know his blood type?"

Leah shakes her head to herself, brow furrowing as she stands overtop the dead Talon, one foot on each side of him as she rolls him onto his sides while she frees the arms of his jacket. Even when haste is required, she's careful to keep Crux in her peripheral. "How in the hell am I supposed to-..." she scoffs, a bit of exertion entering her tone and she briefly hangs her head. "I didn't even know batarians had unique blood

types up until about-... oh, I don't know, six seconds ago!" As plumes of steam erupt from her mouth in the cold Aite air, she tilts her head to the side to look Crux' way, "...Do you know his blood type?" she calls out, repeating Halisi's question before giving a shrug of her shoulders, as if to say 'I know it's a ridiculous question'.

Crux ' eyebrows furrow, gears turning for a moment but then she actually nods. "Three!" she calls back, holding up 3 fingers for emphasis.

Leah's jacket-stripping completely halts as Crux nods and she blinks once. Then a second time. Before her nose scrunches up and she shakes her head a bunch of times. "You know his-..." she stammers. Her gaze turns back to the omni-tool and her lips part to speak before she pauses for another second and her attention snaps right back to Crux. "That's really weeeeeeird!" she calls back in a stage whisper, as if that's going to

keep Halisi from hearing her despite the omni-tool being far closer to her than Crux is. "Uhh-.... three." she informs Halisi, the statement almost sounding more like a question than an answer, unsure if that's even a real blood type, and she falls silent as she awaits either Halisi's confusion or acknowledgement.

Crux looks almost offended, gesturing a little and letting out a scoff that sounds like it might've been a snicker under different circumstances. "It's good to know!" she replies in the same kind of hissed tone, gesturing towards her downed friend. "He-... gets shot a lot." The addition is quiet, voice filled with an odd sort of distressed amusement - she sounds caught halfway between laughing and crying.

Halisi's voice comes through one last time with a "I'll be there as soon as possible." before she goes to hang up.

Leah gives a bewildered shake of her head, looking as if she's about to respond before Halisi's voice comes through once more, softening her expression. Drawing in a deep breath, she offers a quiet, weary, "...I appreciate it, Halisi." before the call ends. She remains stood over the Talon even once the jacket has been removed, eyes briefly closing as a shivver runs through her body and she tries to compose herself, opening and

closing her fists a few times to keep the blood moving in her fingers. Letting out a heavy breath, she scoops up the jacket and omni-tool before starting back towards the pair. "She'll be here soon." she reiterates for Crux and takes a knee beside the wounded batarian, giving him a once over as she gently begins to spread the jacket out over him, fur side down.

Crux nods in response as Leah returns and drapes the jacket over the batarian. Her gaze darts up to Leah, almost looking like she's going to say something. Then back down to RC. And up again.

Leah remains beside the batarian, studying him in silence for a few moments. All they can do now is wait. Loud thoughts clash against one another in her head, but one rises above the rest and soon she, too, looks as though she has something to say. "It is weird." she offers, almost apologetically. "Really. How does that even come up in conversation?!" she asks, shooting a look of genuine confusion Crux' way, bringing her hands

up to her face to breathe some warmth into them.

Crux actually smiles a little, shaky but real, a quiet snort slipping out as her gaze falls to RC again. "Doc told me last time I had to drag his ass to a clinic to get patched up... said I should remember it."

Leah manages a heavy smile of her own, gaze returning to the downed batarian. "Well, I guess they were right." she says quietly, reaching out to adjust the makeshift blanket a bit to ensure it won't slide off. The way her voice is starting to hitch and the involuntary shivvers give away just how cold she is. A pained grunt slips out of her as she rises to her feet once more. She casts a quick glance about until she finds what

she's looking for, eyes resting on the jacket that was discarded by the biotic. "So-..." she says as she starts towards it, one arm snaking across her own midsection in an attempt at protecting whatever warmth she can, "...mind telling me how you two got caught up in all of this?"

Crux nods a few times as Leah steps away. "I-... yeah. It-... we-... we heard someone was hiring guns to chase after a merc off-station. We'd been looking for a chance to get out for a while..."

Leah bends at the waist to lazily scoop the jacket up and looks it over. "Did you know why?" she asks plainly, shooting a glance Crux' way.

Crux looks up in the direction of the house briefly before her attention returns to RC. "Said you'd crashed a deal, got their buddy killed, made off with the merch." she says, drawing in a breath of cold winter air and looking Leah's way. "We figured it was guns or sand, not-..." she trails off, sucking in her lips and looking down at the injured batarian again. She sounds like she's pieced some puzzle together.

Leah lets out a humorless snort. "People?" she finishes the young woman's thought as she swings the jacket on. She could always head in the house and get her own jacket, but that would require leaving Crux on her own. Something she's not quite ready to chance yet. So this will have to do for now. Simply having her arms shielded from the biting wind makes all the difference and an instant relief washes over her, but it's gonna take

some time to chase off the chill that's settled into her bones. "They drugged me when I was leaving a bar on Omega." she explains flatly with no small amount of bitterness in her tone as she bundles herself up as best as she can and slips her omni-tool into the pocket of the jacket. "I think they were planning on selling me to a batarian House..." she continues as she starts back towards the pair. "...But, well..." she gives

a shrug of her shoulders, "...I guess you could say it didn't exactly work out for them." She opts to remain standing this time, the cold ground far from appealing if she can avoid it, and folds her arms across her midsection.

Crux nods faintly, attention remaining on RC. Her last words make her let out a quiet scoff and look Leah's way again, about to say something, but when her gaze lands on the comandeered jacket she freezes. She draws in a long breath, closing her eyes before looking down again and expelling it in a heavy sigh. There's a tension in her body that wasn't there a moment ago, sudden indecision on her face.

Leah's frown only deepens as she continues, tightly hugging herself in an attempt at remaining warm. "...We managed to escape and I thought that would be the end of it." The sigh that escapes is a tired one. Loose ends have a way of finding their way back to you. "...But it never ends." she says quietly. It seems like she's talking about more than just this one instance. "All he had to do was-..." she shakes her head, gaze turning

back to the exo-suit, "...move on with his life. Let it go. Instead? He just got more people hurt." It's all that people like him- people like Fasha- know how to do. Hurt. Take. Whatever is required to get what they want. Her head dips, green eyes resting on the batarian once more. A few moments pass in silence before she speaks up again, "...I'm sorry you and your friend got dragged into all of this..."

Crux seems a little distant as Leah speaks, gaze fixed on RC. The final comment makes her shake her head, and she looks up, looking like she's about to say something, but whatever it was is lost almost immediately. She's silent for a moment, and then looks off towards the pink-haired woman. There's a bit of hesitation, and then she looks back to Leah and says: "I-... I knew her. The girl. Can I-...?" she trails off and gestures vaguely in

the direction of the body, seemingly seeking permission for something, well aware she's only alive by Leah's mercy.

Leah lets out a heavy breath as she hears the woman's words, a mix of emotions bubbling up in her chest now that the adrenaline has run its course. There's her old friend guilt, of course. Not that any of this was her doing. She knows that. She tried to talk them down. To prevent bloodshed. But she wasn't left with a whole lot of choices. She did what she had to do in order to protect herself and her family. But that doesn't make

it feel good. And then there's that voice in the back of her mind, telling her that all of this could've been avoided if she had never let that piece of shit leave that warehouse alive. She furrows her brow, gaze turning towards the indicated body, unsure of what it even is that she's asking permission for, but she relents with a sigh all the same, giving a small nod. Crux is no threat to her. That much is clear by this

point. She's just a scared kid that got in over her head. Made a bad choice and nearly paid for it with her life. "Of course..." she offers softly.

Crux bows her head a little in thanks and, with one more look to RC, gets on her feet. There's no hint of anger or blame in her face as her gaze lands on Leah briefly, she just looks tired and overwhelmed. Aware how close she came to death mere minutes ago. Trying not to think about the fact that RC might still die. Her pantlegs are soaked wet from snow and blood. She walks over to the pink-haired woman. She's taken on an even paler

shade after the life left her. Crux slips her backpack off and sets it in the snow before getting on her knees next to her, movements still slow to avoid an incident. She looks her over in silence, gaze lingering on the knife sticking out of her chest for a while. A heavy sigh slips out, shoulders slumping before she leans forward, using her thumb to gently open both of the woman's eyes and look into each in turn, a couple of

whispered words accompanying the gesture. After inspecting them her hands shift lower, starting to dig through the corpse's pockets.

Leah watches Crux, but not as she did before. Not with sharp eyes that read into every movement, poised to react at the first sign of aggression. Now her big, green eyes hold only sympathy. She shifts in place, hugging herself a little tighter, gaze briefly turning towards the ground.

Crux retrieves a number of small items from the pockets, depositing them in her backpack. It's hard to tell what exactly it is from a little bit away, but it looks like there might be a couple of credit chits and a baggie among other things. She then goes to plant one hand on the body's chest, the other wrapping around the grip of the trench knife still embeded in her armored ribcage. The gesture is accompanied by a look Leah's way,

making sure that she can see what she's doing and trying to communicate that this isn't an act of aggression. Getting her bones shattered over a misunderstanding now would be a stupid way to go.

Leah sucks in her lips, looking none too threatened even as Crux reaches for the knife. When a glance is passed her way, she merely gives a small dip of her head in silent acknowledgement.

Crux returns her attention to the dead woman, pulling the knife free. It makes an unpleasant, scraping noise as the edge grinds against the torn armor-weave. She wipes the blade on her already-stained pants and then puts that too away in her backpack, zipping it up. The body is afforded one more lingering look and then she stands up once more, swinging the pack over one shoulder as she makes her way back to Leah and RC. She offers a

quiet, somber "Thank you." as she returns, the words accompanied by a glance towards the blonde biotic. She deposits her bag in the snow next to the batarian, but the freezing cold that's settling into her legs keeps her standing despite her wish to stick close to her injured friend.

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