And Now, As Broken Glasses Show


deckard_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title And Now, As Broken Glasses Show
Synopsis In the bowels of Grand Central Terminal, misery loves company.
Date February 2, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

Orange is coming in plentiful through the windows, not to mention the open door of the abandoned train carriage. Not bright, not close to natural, but it resembles a kind of night time quality that might fool one into believing that the black tunnel ceiling above was night sky, and the orange lights fixed into the tile could be streetlamps if you didn't search for the source. The windows are dirty from age if not use, time rubbing dust into glass so firm that it would probably take effort to get it back out.

"It's the worst thing, the worst thing," Joseph is saying, wearily animated, with his legs drawn up to fold on the aged bench. Sometimes, he comes down here to read, or more accurately, hide. Across the way would be Emile Danko's ex-cell, storage unit now, quick to fill up. It's chilly, but what wind does make it through tunnels glances off the armored sides of the train carriage they sit in, door facing the wrong direction. "An' you'll find it in most any protestant church you walk into nowadays, even if it's not spoken, not in words. This idea that's salvation's meant to be easy."

Jeans and slippers, and a sweater over a shirt that he's probably slept in, and an additional woolen jacket brought over. House clothes, even if the Grand Central Terminal shouldn't be anyone's home. "It ain't. It's not meant t'be. Nothing about Christianity is easy— just ask the Lord. I think that's in Matthew." It occurred to him a few words ago that he's lost his train— haha— of thought, falling into quizzical silence and glancing down at the embering end of paper, burning leaf, and it occurs to him he hasn't gotten around to asking Deckard how his night went.

"How was it?"

Yellowish smoke cobwebs thickly out the slack part of Deckard's mouth — spillover rather than true exhale, which comes several seconds later in a plume filtered slow out through his nose. It's too quiet to be a sigh, orange light catching in every drift and stir until it's expanded beyond easy detection.

Not that he sees it at all.

His eyes are ringed spectral blue in the cabin's antiquated gloom, eerily bright where shadows otherwise fall naturally under the stoop of his brow and across the hollow of his far cheek. He's on the opposite bench, scruffily shorn head tipped to the cold pane of a grimy window, tuxedo paradoxically pristine under the woolen lapels of his overcoat. He looks good, neck corded long under the lift of his bristled jaw and crisp white collar, unnatural eyes focused dimly on the ceiling until Joseph stops talking and he thinks to look at him instead. Religion washes across him like the orange bands of light spilled warm across the black of his coat and the suit under that, influence temporary at best. He's never expected salvation. Nevermind for it to be easy.

"I left early."

Joseph manages to hesitate before he can let a dozen questions spill out at once — it's not hard to put it on hold, mellow, pausing to clear his throat a little from where it feels like skin is prickling from dry smoke in a way he hasn't felt in a while. Loose-limbed, anesthised, and a little sandy eyed by now, but little about these things is unpleasant. He'd felt self-consciously shabby when, yet again, nicely dressed people seem insistent on walking through the Grand Central Terminal to remind Joseph about how there's this whole wide world above his head, and for that reason he hadn't actually seen Kaylee Thatcher in her dress.

Gotten over that rather quickly when Flint Deckard had found his way down here, tuxedo or not, and invited him on down. "Yeah?" he finds himself responding, slow to take another breath of too-sweet smoke, releasing is slowly to gather in thick twirls in stagnant air. "Why'd you go in the first place?"

"Paycheck," Deckard croaks easily enough, stony voice coarser even than usual in his throat when he flushes his last breath out with a fresh one and raises the blunt in his left hand to start over again. "I got hired on by some limey Linderman shitstain to work security."

There's more detail he could go into there that he doesn't, judgment better intact in some places than others despite marijuana's muffling influence around the flinty edges splintered into his brain. The line of his mouth flattens sidelong into one of resigned non-disclosure and he lets his lambent eyes roll closed against himself and his ever-increasing capacity for lies by omission.

"Abigail's with someone else," is easier to tell the black behind his lids anyway, as it turns out, each word smokier than the last while he scuffs his smoke-wielding hand carefully up across his head. It feels like. Horsehair. Or something. Kind of nice. "I think I'm going to hell. How deep down remains to be determined. People should have to work not to suffer."

The next draw of smoke sets his hooks in too swiftly and settles queasy-deep in the bottom of Joseph's lungs, but he keeps his coughs polite, muffled into his sleeve and shutting his eyes against smoke. Unsurprisingly, he is out of practice. The wince of sympathy that follows isn't for show — subtle crinkles at his eyes, the pull of a frown, these things gain no audience. "Not where I woulda placed my bets." He huddles where he sits, enjoying that warmth gathered and pooled somewhere in the center of his torso, letting out a smoky sigh. "Me too. Pretty sure there's a place in hell for men who know the path of righteousness and don't walk it."

Maybe. He closes an eye in thought. "Might've— made that up." It takes another hit for him to remember, raising the joint a little. "No, Jesus said it. 'If anyone don't remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away an' withers. Picked up, thrown in the fire and burned'." Not that Jesus Christ has ever seen blue Tennessee mountains, but he sure sounds like he has. "Sorry about Abby," he adds, hand coming to rest on his knee once more, careful not to spill errant pieces of ash on denim.

"Well. If Jesus said it." As if semi-omniscient sight grants him the ability to read emotion even when his eyes are closed, Flint keeps them that way, shielding himself superficially from sympathy at the surface he likely wouldn't be able to register anyway.

He knows it's there.

He opens his mouth to say more only to let it linger open a few seconds on its way to working itself closed again, brows knit and eyes slitted open into a sideways slide along bench and floor and windows that aren't dirty to him anymore than they're there at all.

Joseph's hand has wandered enough to fidget with the thin chain around his neck, the one that disappears into his collar, and smoke ribbons around him. Someone could probably get a little stoned just by sitting in the same carriage, with two lit at once, although from shattered green glasses glinting wetly in a corner over yonder, it's probably not the first time that Roosevelt's train has been used for casual socialising. "There's, um. This thing. The place I was kept? Hasn't been touched since it was evacuated and cleaned up. I wanted to see if they behind any of my things.

"Want to come?" Field trip, the kind that Joseph could use a 6'-something guntoting sidekick with X-ray vision at his back. He has his eyes up in the expectation that Deckard will look up too.

Deckard doesn't look up, evasive even with x-ray vision locked firmly into the on position and expensive ganja to ease his hurts. The warm tint about him plucks yellow and gold over the silvery patches on either side of his chin; meshes softer across dark wool at his shoulders and collar. The indirect slant of his glare stands out bold in complimentary contrast, glacial blue to volcanic blacks and oranges. Smoke obscures hard edges here and there, trailing for the most part forgotten from the sit of his hand across his knee.

"Sure." Only a depressed Flint could make investigating enemy dungeons for loot to repossess sound like a Sunday afternoon trip to the grocery store for apples, windex and bread.

It's not the first time it's bothered him, and maybe not even the first time he's mentioned it, although Joseph couldn't rightly remember if he tried. Maybe not. "Thanks," he says, distractedly, mouth going into a line before he inhales the remaining dregs he has burning away between the V of his fingers. Releases it slowly, easily, which helps. "Is it for yourself or— I don't know. Your eyes. Are you lookin' for something?

"It makes me uncomfortable." He says this in the tone of a longsuffered half of a married couple finally gaining the spine to politely put their foot down about leaving the toilet seat up, which comes with immediate if silent apology for bringing it up in the first place. "A little."

If the hidden motivation there was to get Flint to finally look up, it's successful. The line of his focus pivots at a mechanical tick of side to front, unholy blue branding unblinking into Joseph's blacker eyes without apology. Hairline fractures in his attention divert to measure respiration and pulse, bleary estimate blocked in where being stoned smudges absolutes.

Eventually, he…lifts his ~doobie~ for a last drag of his own, still staring even once his head's leaned forward enough off dirty glass to tip aquiline after confessions of unease or discomfort or whatever this is. There's a deliberate aggressiveness about it, too bone bare to be easily mistaken for teasing.


That Flint doesn't turn off his eyes is— predictable, if mildly disappointing, communicated in the tip of Joseph's skull downwards. "I guess I got used to you when you didn't have 'em," he says, clearing his throat midway when he voice comes out as a rickety rasp, and manages to not bother offering a smile. "It's sorta like— bein' looked through. Like I'm not there. Or you're not." And maybe being observed at a bone-deep level is philosophically offputting, but he's not stoned enough to say that and get sneered at.

The joint it mashed out against metal, Joseph now focusing black eyes on that task rather than observing Deckard and what he has to say or not say on that, lifting a shoulder in a jostle of a shrug.

"I can see you," manages not to sound like reassurance despite the fact that those words in that order should be, and Flint follows Joseph's example, scraping near invisible joint to metal with bone-clawed fingers curled under a whisper of tendon and skin. He chuckles once it's out, teeth flashed hyena white through the slash of a leer that never quite aims itself Joseph's way and dies out before it can build into a laugh.

Then he swallows and his eyes go out and he looks like a skinny old graverobber on a dead train rather than Minos sitting in the same suit and coat, knees apart and bristly Adam's apple rolling sluggishly after a swallow. "Have you talked to your wife?"

And so he kind of gets sneered at anyway, but then it's a wash of normal, pale blue peeking over at him in all the long shadows and orange light. The relief that comes with it is enough to confirm to Joseph that saying something was worth it, kind of, although now Deckard gets to see that the question he poses startles him. Subtle, brow furrowing and dark eyes casting up towards the carriage ceiling. Still fidgeting with gold chain, before he folds his hands in his lap instead as opposed to giving in and taking out the crucifix to toy with.

"No. Not since after what happened with the church. I dunno what to say anymore."

X-ray vision provides a different kind of map of an individual. Personality is defined in sweeping movements and mannerisms, in voice and in tiny individualistic markers every living body carries with it. Healed fractures, the wear and tear of aging, metal pivots and plates.


"Maybe you should talk to her." Soot is greased black across the pads of his fingers and he scuffs callused pads together so that he can reach into his overcoat after a flask, one eye squintier than the other in the black under his brows. "Or divorce her. I mean, if you aren't fucking her and you aren't talking to her…"

"We're separated," comes off a little defensively, sharper, too, though that's probably more to do with swearing than the subject itself being verboten, and Joseph works on unfolding his legs. Even marijuana still plaguing his system and lingering in the air doesn't mask the twinge in one of them, discomfort flickering before dying again by the time slippers are set against the dusty ground. They're the kind that can, at best, tolerate the kind of ground one walks on out here, rubber soles and wool-lined a few inches up the ankle.

He pauses, then scrubs the side of his face wearily, curing an itch and finding discomfort in slight unshavenness. "Maybe I should talk to her," Joseph echoes. "Then she'll say she wants a divorce. Phonecalls've been too polite. Hell, maybe it ain't got nothin' to do with being Evolved, but I dunno if her seein' someone is better or worse."

"Separation implies that you intend to get back together. Maybe once that was okay. But you're not the same bible banger you were a year ago." Flask in hand, Flint fumbles with the cap and there's a semi-quiet span where he scuffs and drinks and swallows and roughs dribble out of his stubble collection on his way to pushing unsteadily up onto his feet, shadows displacing orange to cloak his grizzled head in shadow. "Take a risk. You take them every day here. And I doubt she's the kind of conniving bitch that's going to kidnap and torture you for it."

Joseph's expression is mostly unreadable when told he's changed, though a slight pull at his mouth in mild annoyance that's quick to fade. Despite himself, and wry comments about kidnapping and torture, and using Claira-like pronouns in the same vicinity as the word 'bitch', Joseph snorts once at that comment, head tipping in a rueful kind of gesture before his gaze skims away and out the windows. Tracks in a certain direction, a certain door.

"I doubt that too," he says, with a glimmer of a smile. "I just don't want to lose her completely. But I guess if I already have, it's worth knowin'." Which is grim, kind of, but stated with a certain kind of pragmatism that might hurt later. He only nods, once: okay. Thanks.


He can see the smile.

Flint's brow furrows. He frowns.


It would be an impressive frown on a face less long than his, overall balance listing too far to his right, so that after a moment of uneasy staring, he has to start turning his back on the pastor anyway or risk falling over.

A shrug of his left shoulder half fixes the near fall of his coat back off it while he makes his way for the open door, roundabouts where he finally pauses again, breath fogged in the cold without benefit of smoke. "Maybe if you can fix it you should." More pause, more awkward. He should say something else.

After a beat that seems longer than it is, he slings his flask-wielding hand in a flounce hard enough to ring whiskey and tin clang off the far end of the car's interior. Then he's dropped off out the carriage, dress shoes scuffing out a prowling retreat.

Flint gets a few feet of escape out from the carriage, where rotten floor tries its darndest to ruin nice shoes, the scarred interruption of unused railroad tracks and miscellaneous crunching debris. It smells cleaner out here, colder, of water and rock and not, for instance, pot, though that's going to take some time getting out of his tuxedo and overcoat.

Behind him, there's the softer thump of Joseph cautiously climbing out, hand gripping the edge of the green painted train car. "Fixin' it might mean goin' home," he says, more or less at Deckard's back, and with no one or another inflection. He's not going to follow, already moving off for some other corridor that he's come to know too well. A loose shrug, hey, something to consider, before he's making his own escape.

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