CW: reference to opioid OD

Erin struggled with the zipper on her jacket. It refused to to zip farther than the first inch. She tugged and pulled and swore.

“Christ. Come here.” Bren grabbed the bottom of Erin’s jacket and slowly eased the zipper up.

“Well, I.. loosened it for ya.” Erin said. Bren smiled briefly.

“Ya, I know, I know.” They started rolling up the sleeping bag and pad, packing them into the duffel bag with the broken zipper and reattaching the safety pins they used to hold it closed. Bren tossed the bag out through the open door of the tent and followed it out. Erin gave her photo of her sister a kiss, then carefully pulled the jacket partway open and slipped it into the inside pocket. After breaking down and packing the tent, they started walking toward the library.

“Bren! Erin!” a man’s voice called behind them. They turned, Bren instinctively moving between Erin and the mystery shouter. 

“Wilson!” Erin called back, and Bren relaxed. Wilson reached them and asked if he could carry anything.

“I have news.” He said, as Erin handed him the duffel, “we have a court date.” 

“That’s great!” Erin said, grinning. “Hey, Bren?” But Bren was not as inclined to be excited. 

“So what’s that mean?” she asked Wilson. “What do we have to do now? Do we have to go and get questioned by someone?”

“Nope.” Wilson told her, “we have the affadavits. That’s all we need from you.”

“So when is it?” Erin wondered.

“Three weeks: March 4th and 5th.” 

“So then what?” Bren interjected. 

“Well… if it goes our way, the city will have to back off from the park and leave the camp alone.”

“Like they had to last time?” Bren asked bluntly. 

“Hopefully not—“ Wilson started, but Bren cut him off:

“Hopefully doesn’t do us much good if we lose our shit again.”

“I know. I know. But we’re going to ask that the judge require them to notify everyone on the site before anything gets removed, make sure—“

“Like how they were required to leave us the hell alone before?” Bren cut in again. She glanced at Erin, who had stopped for a minute to pluck some frozen and half-wilted flowers off a shrub nearby, then dropped her voice, “I know you’re working hard on this court shit, or whatever, but I wish you’d stop getting Erin’s hopes up. Every time you tell us anything, she thinks it’s the Creator’s own assurance, and we’re barely keeping it together as it is. If she has another dissapointment like last time.”

“I know.”

“You don’t know,” Bren snapped at him, “she almost died. She said it was an accident she took so much, but…” She glanced over at Erin, who was now walking back toward them with little red flowers loosely stuck in her hair, a goofy smile plastered on her face. “You and your boyfriend made a promise and couldn’t keep it. Don’t make another one.” With that, Erin reached them, and Bren fussed with the flowers, getting them a little more secure in Erin’s hair. 

“How do I look?” Erin asked, striking a glamour pose and smiling.

“You look perfect.” Bren told her, looking at her friend with a warm smile, and Erin grinned again and giggled, spinning on the spot. Bren’s smile dissapeared as she shot a last loaded look to Wilson. He dropped his head a little and raised his palms toward her for a moment: okay, I won’t.

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