A Bird In The Hand...


lola_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bird In The Hand…
Synopsis …is worth quite a lot.
Date September 18, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

The Ruins of Midtown. It's like a book or something, like some place only Hobbits might visit. Not that Lola Mayeux has any fucking clue what a hobbit is. If she did, that's an observation she might be making.

In truth, she's more like a soldier in war-torn Europe back in the 40's. Perched one level above the debris in the remains of a building, scoping out different targets across the wasteland. What makes a target? A smiley face sticker here, a lamp shade there, whatever she decides to set her eyes upon.

The rifle is a monster. It's not a monster in that it's big, but it's light with a clear scope. Lola has camoed herself as much as possible, in tight black jeans and a grey hoodie pulled up to cover her hair. A dark red towel hangs over her right shoulder, which is odd, but it makes sense to her. Breathe. Trigger. Crack.

Each crack sounds off over the distance. Nothing anyone would pay attention to, but not something anyone in the area could miss.

The repetition of target practice is something that typically helps build muscle memory, somewhere where hand-eye coordination can be blended to a swift efficiency. For Lola Mayeux, though, the intuitive sense of accuracy that her mind creates turns the exercise into something otherwise. It makes learning a weapon a more trying process, one where she has to try to miss, where she has to focus more on the mechanics of understanding the gun itself rather than learning to account for wind and distance. It's mostly a matter of learning the kick of the gun, and not to break her shoulder with higher calibre firearms.

This learning exercise, however, gives her something that snipers often call tunnel vision, the trait of becoming so focused on a target that peripheral surroundings go unnoticed. A trained sharpshooter learns to focus on both their immediate environment and the target, and that's something Lola's slowly learning to do on her own. But practice makes perfect, and as evidenced by the coarse, "Hello there," offered by what she thought was her own private space, she's got more practice to do.

Leaning up against a crumbled half-wall that may have at one time framed a window, the black-clad form of Peter Petrelli looks remarkably out of place in the urban ruins of midtown. His sleek, black suit is pressed and without a spot of dust, save for around his shoes and the lower hem of his slacks. Gloved hands are tucked into his pockets, head tilted to the side and one brow raised in a way that tugs on the upper portion of the scar that cuts across his face.

"You know, they say you can get radiation sickness out here…" Peter conversationally adds with a reluctant smile, rolling his shoulders. It's a small wonder how long he must have been eavesdropping on this here.

The voice is what startles Lola. A voice she wasn't expecting. In her own world, nothing but that little smiley face existed. Smiley little bastard, with his smiles and yellow skin. Not natural yellow, not even liver-damage yellow. Yellow like a school bus, and who doesn't hate busses? Bringing kids to school and stopping traffic, nobody likes them.

But the voice, the startles. Lola swings the rifle around in a response to the unwelcome, unexpected voice. Well, she tries too anyway. Turns out the rifle is a bit longer than it looks, so the barrel smacks soundly against the edge of the hole she's firing out of, and the motion causes her to squeeze the trigger, firing off a shot randomly. Lola looks baffled, startled, and surprised at what she just did. She glances to Peter during the swing, but after the shot goes off, she's staring at the gun, afraid to move for a second.

Because shots going off anywhere are never good.

"Think I kilt a bird…." she notes, looking back up to Peter. Then, the fear fades, and her face wrinkles in confusion. "Sugar, if radiation poisinin' gives ya nice suit an stance like that, sign me up." If it gives her cancer, however, not so much.

"I'm not so worried about the radiation." Peter notes with one brow quirked, pale blue eyes drifting to focus on the gun, then on Lola. He stays relaxed against the broken wall, nodding his head towards her slightly. "Not a bad spot to be minding your own business, though." Which implies he's butting in to her business, "but I think they have ranges for these sorts of things… which implies you might not be able to go to a public place like that."

Leaning off of the wall, Peter begins to make slow, meandering steps towards Lola. "Or, you just like to get away from people, invest yourself in an environment more natural to where yu normally use that gun," his brows go up, blue eyes tracking from Lola to the gun and back, a feigned smile creeping up on his lips. "So, which is it? Criminal, or loner?"

Can't it be both? The phrase jumps up in Lola's mind, but she doesn't say it. Instead, she pulls the rifle across her lap, removing the towel from her shoulder. Still, her hair and part of her face are obscured by the hoodie, and even in it's baggy state it's rather clear that she's a small woman.

So what does she say? How does she answer this man? Should she lie? Bleh, when does she ever lie?

"I don' know many folks if that's what you mean. But accordin' ta the oh-so-savvy NYPD I'm clean as a whistle now," Since she was released. With a mischevious grin brightening the shadow of her hood, Lola leans forward a bit and looks over Peter. "But you, sugar, you got criminal written all over ya. I mean the suit, in a place like this? An the ah…well ya know." She makes a slashing motion over her own face to indicate his scar. "My daddy's got a scar like that, on his arm though. Too clean ta be made trippin' around here or some such silly thang, ya know?" Still, knowing he's a criminal doesn't seem to make her nervous. In fact, she sits back against the wall, looking over him. "But ya'r a little skinny. Ya hungry, sugar? I werne' kiddin' when I said I think I shot a bird…."

Dark brows furrow, considering Lola for a moment before answering with, "No, I already ate…" His wandering strides come to a halt, and he peers out over the ruins towards the gigantic sinkhole of a crater of ground zero not too many blocks away. Breathing in a deep breath, Peter exhales it as a sigh and slowly turns away, shifting his weight to one foot as he relaxes his posture again. "The government isn't very fond of me," he admits, "but I'm not a criminal. At least… in so much as I don't do crime for personal gain. Sometimes you have to break a few rules in order to do some good, though."

Letting his eyes drift up and down Lola, Peter takes a few slow steps away from her, affording the gun-toting woman a long view of his back before he comes to stop by another ruined window, much of the upper portion gone, no glass to be found anywhere, just a rectangular opening in concrete. "What're you planning on using that for?" He looks over his shoulder, motioning towards the gun with a nod of his head.

Even Lola is amazed at how well she's adhered to the rules regarding Azrael. Mostly the one that says 'don't talk about it'. It's something that hasn't crossed her lips very often, and it certainly won't now.

"This?" she asks, gesturing toward the rifle. "I dunno, figured I'd…shoot with it. Tin cans an stuff. Birds apparently too…" She peers out the window, pointing. "Ah, yep. there he is. Little guy too…snuffed out before his time. Sad." She squints, peering closer. "Wait… nevermind, he looks kinda mangy. I s'poze we kin think a him as havin' lived a good life, happy to have seen his chicks grow up."

She turns back to Peter, finally pulling her hood down and shaking her head. Her hair is up in a ponytail, but slowly frizzing to be free. "Ain' nothin' wrong with a touch a crime, sugar. It's got it's place. Ya learn a lot about people; like you." She lifts her hand, the bottle of morphine held between her thumb and forefinger. "Ya got pain, sugar?" She asks, sounding sincere. Almost sheepish.

Blue eyes narrow, a hand comes down to his pocket, feeling the bottle in his pocket missing before looking back up to Lola with one raised brow. Does he have pain? The question earns his speechlessness for a time, followed by a slow shake of his head, "It's not mine." The pain, or the morphine, maybe both. "I'm trying to detox someone who would be much better off without it. But," he reaches out with a leather-gloved hand, palm up and fingers spread. "I might need that."

It's a sedate reaction, more interested in her palming of the bottle than the fact that she took it without asking. "You might want to be careful next time, you got lucky that you didn't brush my wrist…" gloved fingers curl with a protesting creak of the black leather in a beckoning motion towards the bottle, "you'd be needing that more than me."

Lola smiles as he takes the bottle back without reprimanding her. "Yeah well, I spoze I'll remember that. Ya might wanna take care that ya don' got stuff bustin' oughta yer pockets like that. That just looked at me wif big ol puppy dog eyes an begged to be stolen," yes, the bottle made her do it. "I spoze I gotta give this back too…" she murmers, withdrawing the syringe from her…well, her hand. She just holds it up and it's between her fingers. "See…when ya lean down, yer pockets get more loose, an even swing forward a bit, cause a gravity an all. An I just…pluck…" she's almost blushing about it! It was just too easy.

"If ya got pain though, darlin…I dunno. Might be better ways ta handle that. Natural ones, I mean." Her mother, after all, practiced Santeria with all of it's natural herbs. Lola picked up a bit. "Though it ain' helpin' this one lick a bit…" she grumbles, struggling out of her sweatshirt and tossing it aside. She's wearing a loose tank top beneath it. She jerkily pulls back the shoulder to reveal patterned bruising from the butt of the rifle. "Seriously, how do folks do this on a daily basis? I'm sure my arm's gonna fall off, I kin barely lift it. Pain's one thing but swellin' an stiffness is just a pain in my ass."

Blue eyes follow the motion of the syringe, and even as one hand is tucking away the bottle of morphine, his other hand snatches the syringe between two fingers, sliding it inside of his jacket pocket instead. It's only once the bruise is revealed that his focus is disatracted, looking to the blue-purple shade with an uncertain expression. His eyes alight, and his head turns to the side with a lopsided smile. "Hold that thought…" Peter says in a hushed tone of voice, turning his back on Lola again as he takes a few quick steps out of the ruined room and towards a crumbling pair of stairs he used to get up here. Disappearing out of sight, he's gone for several long moments, leaving Lola alone, save for the distant sound of the city beyond the ruins, and the whistle of air through the shattered buildings.

Out one of the windows, she catches him moving quickly thorugh the debris with the familiarity of someone who spends too much time here. He comes up on that motionless bird Lola had killed, crouching down near it, picking it up by one wing, flipping it over in his hands and pressing his gloved palm over its chest. It's hard to tell his expression from here, but for a moment it looks like he's smiling.

When he disappears out of view from the window again, the sound of his footsteps crunching on the floor below, and then making scuffing procession up the stairs indicate his eventual return. However, with the bird cradled in one hand, thin rivulets of blood running down one side of his glove, Peter very eagerly asks, "How brave are you?"

Oh, great. Another one of these. "Uhhh…." Because what does one say to a strange man dressed like a mobster in a deserted nuclear explosion site with a scar across his face? Holding a dead bird, of course. "Well…." she still seems to be considering her answer. "The last fellah what asked me that kissed me an dropped me off a 13 story building," she explains, perfectly serious. She waves a dismissive hand to indicate that this is a long story. "He assured me that what he was about to do would not kill me or maim me for life, so I reckon if whatever yer about to do kin meet them two criterium…" she really says criterium, and it sounds like an abortion of letters through her accent "… then you an I're good ta go, darlin. Whats wif the bird?"

"The only person I ever dropped from a high place, got better too." Peter offers a hesitant smile to the sarcasm, and with the bird held in one hand, he brings his other up to his mouth, biting down on the middle finger to tug the glove off of his hand, spitting the leather out to slap against the floor once its shed. "I won't say this won't hurt, because it might, but…" one shoulder rises slowly, "it'll be better for you in the long run."

Looking down to the bird, Peter offers a crooked smile and switches it from his gloved hand to his bare hand, "It was still alive, too." Was being the operable word, and the moment the bird hits his bare hand, its wings begin fluttering and then spasming as it writhes around in his palm. Tiny wisping tendrils of black smoke seethe forth from his skin, snaking thorugh the bird like worms.

Gloved hand held out, Peter closes his eyes and rests the hand on Lola's bruised shoulder. His head quirks to the side, and in an instant those thin black tendrils of smoke and shadow rise up thorugh the leather of his glove, and then needle into her skin. Veins turn black from the proximity, and a prickling numbness like anisthetic or a sleeping limb comes, followed by a bone-deep heat. It starts to feel painful, a dull ache, before it cools some.

As the heat cools, so too does the ache and pain of the burised shoulder. Burst capalaries and internal bleeding begins to fade, even as the pigeon in Peter's hand begins to wither, feathers falling out, skin blackening and then crisping until it eventually rots away like black tar and ash, bones becoming brittle and insides little more than dust once they're revealed. Ultimately, the bird crumbles apart in Peter's grasp, and when it finally breaks up into fragile bone fragments and ashen powder, the bruise on Lola's shoulder is gone entirely, as is the pain.

Dark brows rise, blue eyes move from Lola's to the shoulder and back again. "It worked," he notes with a crooked smile, "well… you know what they say about practice." His bare hand tosses the remains of the bird aside with a dusty clatter, and his smile becomes a bit more genuine. "Thank you for… playing guinea pig."

There's really nothing Lola can do when the process starts, so she just goes with it. She stands and she lets him touch her, heal her and…fry the bird. Once it's over, Lola doesn't step back from him, instead she pulls the shoulder of her top away to look over her smooth, perfect skin. No longer bruised. Her free hand runs over it. "Anytime, sugar…" she drawls, looking up at him with a grin. "That was…fuckin' creepy as hell," she admits with a little chuckle. "But believe it or not, it hurts less than bein' kissed an' dropped 13 stories." Actually he probably knows all about that, but that's not really the point.

"An…if anybody asks, we cremated the bird. Gave 'im a nice proper funeral an the whole nine yards. We're criminals, sugar, but we ain' all that bad." She pulls the shoulder of her top back up, looking once more to Peter's blue eyes. Her smile faulters a bit. "Wait, Guinea pig? So that coulda gone wrong…like, ya coulda healed the bird an turned me into crispy fried cajun? I mean, that sounds delicious if ya don' think too much into it, but…"

There's a subtle shrug of one shoulder, and Peter offers a disingenuous smile. "Well, it might have just killed you both. I only got that trick to work once, but I think I might have the hang of it now, the bird wasn't exactly unwilling…" Crouching down to pick up his glove, Peter dusts it off and slides it back over his bare hand, looking up to Lola from his crouched position. "It probably wouldn't have killed you, if that makes you feel any better."

Grinning as he rises to stand up straight, Peter flicks a spot of ash off of his suit, then brushes the dust left behind off as he looks over to Lola again with that same lopsided smile. "But look at it this way," he nods to her shoulder, "you can get in twice the target practice today."

Lola grins as well, shaking a 'shame on you' finger at this strange man. Hey, what's the point of being upset now? It's done and over with and her shoulder does feel better. "Boy, I oughta make you buy me dinner just for that," she says. "Not as straight forward as 'I kissed ya' but a bit more powerful. 'I coulda sucked the life outta ya an turned yer bones ta ash,' doesn' have quite the same ring to it though, sure that's why it's not used that often." She's so playful, even now.

Lola bends down, retriving the rifle and holding it between her arms. "I reckon I can, leastways until I bruise the hell outta myself again. You got a private practice or somethin' fer this sorta thing?" Again, teasing. Mostly.

About to turn a shoulder to Lola, Peter pauses and cracks a smile, shaking his head, "Something like that." His eyes wander past her, out the window to stare down the length of east-west street that cuts through the southern end of the ruins. His eyes tiredly settle back on her, head tilting to the side like an animal that heard a strange sound. "You reckon," Peter echoes with a raise of his brows, finally turning his shoulder to Lola and moving towards the stairwell again, this time not in the fevered search for a dead bird.

"It was nice making your acquaintance…" Peter admits with a wave of one hand over his shoulder, but then it does bring up the point that he never did, in fact, make her acquaintance at all.

Well he just said a whole buncha nothing, a few words that didn't seem to make sense. Maybe he's dipping into that morphine after all. But his drawing off of the sentance does bring it fully to mind - no acquaintance has been made, even over the double-death of a bird who lived a good life and got to see his chicks grow up.

"Lola," the girl offers. "I mean, I got lotta names nowdays, but Lola's the one my maman gave me. Actually my daddy gave it to me, don' much rekcon mama ever cared for it."

He'll also find later that she tucked said name and number into his pocket. It's called networking, people! Working with two crazies while secretly infiltrating the gang of another crazies for a crazy mob lord? She's going to need every connection in the city one day.

Hesitating on the stairs, Peter keeps his back to Lola, listening to her in quiet thought. When he does finally turn, it's only at the waist, only enough to strain to look over his shoulder and peer back at her with those pale blue eyes, dark brows creased, half of his face shadowed by a jagged column of rock that blocks some of the sunlight filtering in to the ruined building. He smirks, head dipping into a nod, and as Peter turns his back to her again and starts to walk down the stairs and away from her, his parting words are far less helpful than hers;

"I've got a lot of names too."

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