A Good Night for a Walk


mack_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title A Good Night for a Walk
Synopsis After Mack walks out on Endgame's discussion of PARIAH, Peyton catches up with him. The two mend their past differences with Mack offering some sage advice.
Date January 31, 2010

Outside the New York Public Library

Mack's mood has been considerably dampened by the conversation in the library, but at least this time he isn't throwing a temper tantrum over it. He just doesn't have that purpose to his step anymore, and there is just something about him that looks… hollow. Out in front of the library, standing in the street, he's tapping the buttons his cell phone. Sending a text message.

Peyton steps out into the street, and pauses, unsure if she should bother Mack when he's busy with his phone, or keep on her way and head on home. She bites her lip, then runs a couple of steps to his side. "Hey," she says softly, touching the back of his arm lightly. "I… just wanted to say … " she falters. She isn't sure what she wanted to say. "Don't go yet. Nothing's set in stone, and Liz might say no to it all. At least check in with us… or Liz, or something." She looks up at him, her dark eyes worried.

Mack punches the send button before sliding his phone closed and stashing it in his pocket. "For all they may want to sound like it, this is Liz's show. I'll leave if and when she decides its 'prudent' or 'expedient' to work with fucking terrorists. Not a second before." He taps the slight bulge the phone makes in his pocket. "That was to her. Telling her we need to talk. But I will not work with them, and I will not work with terrorists. They can talk about shades of grey all they want, but when you drop yourself to the level of the people you're fighting you're not saving the world from anything. Its the same excuse we've been using for four thousand years. 'Its okay because we're right'. Well how the fuck do we even know we're right? No. I'll kill someone if I have to. To stop them from blowing up innocent civilians. To stop them, directly. Not because they could theoretically do something in the future. PARIAH blew up half a city block; they brought a building down right on top of SCOUT- with their own people still in the danger zone! Ah, fuck it. You either think its okay to use whatever means necessary or you don't. I don't." He jerks his head towards the library. "Apparently they do."

The young woman, wrapping her scarf around her neck a bit more tightly now that she's out doors, just listens and nods and waits for him to say his peace. "You lost friends in it. It's understandable. But… Claire was PARIAH, and she's different now. Maybe they are too." It's a possibility, but even Claire didn't seem to think it a very likely one. "I agree, though. I don't want to hurt people, either," she says in a small voice. "I read… that notebook. Cardinal said in it he had a vision where that Edward Ray guy said something… something I thought was important." She thinks for a moment, to try to remember it accurately. "'Some futures are forged from blood, collateral damage, bullets. I want to forge mine with change.'" She looks up, tilting her head. "But the question is, how do we make change?"

"Combination of walking softly and carrying a big stick. I'm not a pacifist, I know sometimes you have to get a little dirty when you're digging for gold. When you stop caring when innocent people get hurt…" Mack sights, lighting a cigarette. "As for specifics… I don't even pay attention to the prophecy bullshit. The future is what we make it."

Peyton nods, and glances down the broken and charred sidewalk, the way her path will lead her, then back to him. "I don't think they stopped caring," she says quietly. "It's why it's up for discussion at all. If it was an easy answer, we wouldn't even talk about it. Anyway, I … just didn't want you to leave without saying goodbye. In case you don't come back." She chews her lower lip. They've been strangers, then almost friends, then near enemies, and now seem to be strangers again, but it doesn't seem right to just see him disappear without a farewell.

"Peyton, sometimes we don't get along. Sometimes… well, anyway, I want you to know I think you're good people. I respect you. I don't have a very good way of showing it, but then, thats who I am. Cardinal was the right kind of person for you to be following, and Liz is too. At least for now." He exhales a long cloud of blue-grey smoke. He's not looking at her; in fact, he's looking anywhere but at her. "If things go the way I think they're going, I wanted you to know that. And if they do, I have some advice. You don't tend to care for my advice, but, humor me… don't wait until you've been playing their game for a decade, giving up little pieces of your soul here and there, until one day you wake up and realize you aren't you anymore. And if you can't do that… get used to saying goodbye to friends once its too late for them to know you said it, because the body count will pile up on you in a hurry."

"Mack…" Peyton says, and she bites her lower lip to keep from crying. The tears today were for Cardinal, but she isn't going to cry again. "The thing is, I don't like the person I've been, so changing that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have to change — I have to try and make this world better. I just don't know how. I trust Cardinal and I trust Liz. Claire is… she's good people too, but she's not any older than I am, even if she's been at this much longer."

She steps in front of him so that he has to look at her. "I also trust you, even if I think you make dumb choices sometimes, for what it's worth," she adds in a whisper. "So I'll try and take your advice. And I don't want… I don't want you to go." She closes her eyes, trying to keep the tears from sliding out. "I'm already losing people. I don't want to lose more."

Mack does look down at Peyton, though always with those damned sunglasses. "There's a difference between refusing to change and giving up your core ideals. Trust me, Peyton. You don't ever want to wake up and feel like me, and know there's no way you can ever go back. I may not be able to get my humanity back, but I can still do some good. And hopefully I can help keep you from making the mistakes I made… shit, I sound like my dad. Guess that means you're going to go right on ahead and do it anyway, if my history is any indicator…"

She laughs a little wryly at that analogy. "If I'm the daughter in this sick fantasy of yours, my history would indicate I'm not going to listen to you, either," Peyton points out. "I wasn't the most obedient of children or I probably wouldn't even be here. But how about we skip that whole idea because you're not that much older than me, even if you pretend to be."

Stepping closer to Mack, Peyton tentatively opens her arms. "Can I … hug you?" she asks, uncertainly, dark eyes shining with blinked back tears. "Just in case I don't see you again… but I hope we can be friends, even if you choose to leave. I need more friends. Real ones."

Mack doesn't balk when she opens her arms; he just wraps her up in a hug. He might hold her a little too tight for a little too long. But it feels good to have friends. "Besides the fact that I'd be a terrible father. You know what I'm saying, anyway."

She lets him hold her as long as he needs, for she needs it too. When the hug is at last broken, she offers a shaky smile. "You have my number, Gabriel," she says quietly. "If you decide to disappear from us, at least say goodbye. Talk to Liz — she'll listen to your concerns. She likes you and respects you, and she'll listen to what you have to say." She tilts her head down the sidewalk. "Wanna walk me out of Midtown at least once more, for old time's sake, or will that get you shot at?" It's a poor joke, but it is said with affection rather than bitterness. Bygones.

"Hell, at this point it might feel good to get shot a couple of times." Ahh, Mack. You silly, silly man. He offers Peyton his arm, "Its a good night for a walk anyway. And if this is the last time I come to the library… well, then our last memory can be a good one. Either way, thanks for the memories."

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