Ash And Snow


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Scene Title Ash And Snow
Synopsis On an errand in the past to discover new footprints in Jaiden Mortlock's last adventure, Kaylee makes a request of Hiro.
Date October 11, 2010

1999, New York City

Kaylee is waiting for Hiro outside. It's fucking cold right now in New York City, winter, what with the sheeting snow coming down to decorate her blonde hair in vampire sparkles, and it's even twilight, a mauve quality to the otherwise grey sky. Cars are choking up the road outside the NYPD HQ, which squats across the street from her while she takes shelter beneath the awning of a boutique that has long since closed for the evening. It's going to be nine o'clock soon, but— there was no curfew in New York City, in 1999. And so there is traffic, and the recent sting of a needle still felt in her arm, up her winter-proof sleeve.

Hiro just needed to check one more thing, before taking them home.

She will see him now, standing patient at the side of the road to wait for a break in traffic. They've been here an hour, now, zipping around to find people who witnessed the terrifying hockey stadium incident and carefully plucking it out of their brains. The adrenalised effects of her ability is still thrumming beneath her skin, making the thoughts around her sharper and clearer. Just another clean up job. The travel might be great, but this is the least glamourous task to saving butterflies.

Hiro drifts across the road once he's sure no angry New Yorker is going to skid their vehicle across the ice and tumble Hiro over its giant steel body. He steps up on the curb beside Kaylee, ducking under the shelter of the awning, with ice glittering in the collar of his coat. "I think someone was here before me," he says, steam wisping out from his mouth as he speaks. "I will have to deal with this differently. But thank you for waiting."

"I'm just glad you warned me to dress warm." Kaylee offers with a crooked tilt of a her mouth, arms crossed shoulders lifted to cover a portion of her face with the collar of her winter jacket. Steam of her breath still rises from it. Her hair fans out over her back, thanks to the dark blue knit hat she has pulled down over her ears.

When she lets her shoulders drops finally, Kaylee studies the small oriental man. "How are you holding up, yourself?" How many people have actually thought to ask the samurai that? "This can't be easy on you… All this jumping around. Do you even get any sleep? or should I say… enough sleep?" She asks curiously, with a little tilt of he head thoughtfully. Though her eyes flick over to a passing car following it. One of the downsides of this is her hearing peoples thoughts, no matter how she tries not too.

It honestly makes Kaylee feel like a newbie telepath.

There is a sigh as that distracting mind gets past her, but it does allow her to look at the man she's been helping lately. "Sorry," the telepath murmurs sheepishly.

"Enough sleep," Hiro repeats, neutrally. It's difficult to tell exactly if he's just parroting the concept back to her, like he would only like enough sleep, or he's confirming the fact he's getting it. A slow blink, as if to stem a headache without making a production of it, and he curls his glove-clad hands into fists that creaks the thin leather at the knuckles. A small shake of his head follows, denying her sorry, and he casts a look out towards the street. "Since I got the virus, I get headaches when I use my ability," he says, in the plain manner he oftens says things.

And seems prepared to leave it there, save for the addition; "We will go back soon. I need a minute to rest." Pride is a killer, too, and so the fact that he's admitting the need to pause and brace himself before launching back out into the timestream is a rarity.

"Take all the time you need. No need to worry about hot dates, or missing favorite shows when you got time on your side." Kaylee offers with a small smile of understanding, blue eyes study the samurai in a moment that doesn't seem so hurried for once. Given time to see a more human side of the time traveler.

Worried about being accused of staring, the telepath's gaze drops to the half frozen ground and then out to the street again, while tucking her arms a little tighter around herself. It was cold, but she could honestly say it could be worse. Maybe she could convince Joseph to warm her up — with some coffee!

Okay… so that last was added so it wouldn't seem so bad a thought. She still sighs at her own silliness and tries to focus on something else. Something occurs to her, teeth catching her lower lip briefly as she glances in Hiro's direction. "Ah — Hiro? While I have you here… I — I need some advice on a matter." Given his current condition she doesn't mention needing his help, yet.

Pushing away from where she's leaning on the building, she turns towards the man, looking a touch uncertain. "I think my father — " She had mentioned who it was to Hiro, hadn't she? In their time together? " — did something and is expecting me to fix it." Already a hand is digging into the pocket of her jeans looking for the charm she found. "He rarely seems to do anything without reason."

His intention to wait out his weakness in stoic silence and fake-isolation is shattered when Kaylee reels him back into conversation, Hiro sneaking a glance out the corner of his eye as she turns to face him again. No irritation, however — he dutifully looks towards her, after upturning the collar of his coat to ward off the chill. "There are few people in the world who do anything without reason," Hiro notes, aloofly. What do probability predictors and time-space benders think of one another? Probably nothing very kind.

Stands patiently and quizzically, waiting for what it is Edward Ray did, with reason.

"Over a week ago…" Kaylee start, deciding that from the beginning would be best. "Well, I found something in the rubble of Grand Central." She pulls out the broken charm, letting the green and silver of it stand out against the dark glove she's wearing. "A post-cog showed me a vision." Leaning towards him a little, the telepath looks completely serious as she says. "It was of my sister talking to our dad on the phone."

Gripping it between a fore finger and thumb of her glove, she lets the silvery charm swing, holding it up. Her eyes are on the almost hypnotic movements of it. "She said 'She didn't show' and then shortly the vision ended with the Midtown explosion. I believe my father put her there."

A worried glace is tossed Hiro's way. "I think he put her there and knew I'd want to go back for her." Kaylee studies the man, curious of his reaction to what she says, fearing it even. "He probably even predicted I would be helping you." There is a wrinkle of her nose to indication how she feels about that, especially since things like that is why he left her mother.

Hiro bristling is a lot like Hiro bored, or Hiro worried, or Hiro thinking. Kaylee will just have to pick which one he is, as he studies the charm before glancing away, as if following its swing with his eyeballs is also headache inducing. "I— " he starts, then stops. It would be a lie, to say he doesn't help anyone in response to Ray predicting Kaylee's assistance. Especially like this. He's already done so, in this story — done it again in another. His eyes hood heavy, as he tries to think. He doesn't have a handy string web with him.

"Tell me about your sister," he invites, after a moment, reaching out a hand for the charm — not to take, but to ask, palm open and fingers together so it won't slip through to the chilly pavement beneath their feet. "And perhaps I will tell you if he predicted I would help you."

She hasn't asked, worried for his condition. But Hiro probably wouldn't have this condition if he didn't think ahead.

There is a moment of hesitation, as if Kaylee is reluctant to part with it. Finally, the tiny broken shamrock charm with it's frayed cord is laid down in his palm. "I — don't know much. I don't have much to go on," she starts tearing her eyes away from the trinket, to the man holding it. "It might not even be you he predicted me to be helping, but —

"If there is anything I have learned working with you, it's that it is a delicate line we walk." Boot heels crunch on the cement as she turns to looks back out into street. "Everything we do now is so important. That in mind I went to look. As the records. The body count, the names of those found dead in the rubble of Grand Central.

"There was no one."

A hand reaches out from under their cover to try and catch snowflakes on her palm. "No one with the last name of Ray died at Grand Central… a couple of missing persons, but that's it. I know her last name could have been different, but I was born with the last name Ray, my mom changed it and my brother had the same last name." Letting her hand drop, she gives Hiro a sheepish look. "So it only stands to reason…" She trail off knowing he can complete that sentence.

"Anyhow," Kaylee continues with a shake of her head. "I've never met my sister, so I can't tell you if she was good person growing up, whether she is worth saving. I just know… if my father intentionally put her there, she deserves a chance."

Hiro shifts the token around his palm for a few seconds, thoughtful as he listens, as she catches ice in her palm, ice she shouldn't be catching not for a couple more months. A truck growls by, briefly blocks out the sight of the NYPD HQ, where Hiro will have to carefully weave back together history where Jaiden was forced to pluck at its threads, where other hands had more knowingly grabbed at it, took what they needed, left this year. So much work to do, a bit like trying to stem a breaking dam.

He offers the token back to her. "You are a good person, Kaylee Thatcher," Hiro says, with determined conviction. "And I will allow you to rescue your sister, if you can find a way to do it that you do not endanger yourself." Which is a ridiculous notion, considering what happened in LA more than a decade ago.

Other hand goes out, a bid for her to take it. "You cannot undo a history that never was," Hiro adds, quietly. Allows a small smile. "Your father knew that. But tonight, I will take you home."


He can see it, even as her blue eyes settle on the charm. "You're not the first person to call me 'good.'" Her mouth pulls to one side in a rueful look as she reaches out to take the charm again, fingers curling around it as if it's cherished. "But, because he did, it's the reason I am here today."

The tiny samurai earns himself a gentle smile from the young woman, "My father was also wrong about you and I'm glad I didn't listen to him." Kaylee glances down at the charm in her hand, fingers opening to allow her to look. "I'm a lucky woman to have and to know the friends that I do."

That's right, she called him a friend.

"Okay, Hiro." The charm is tucked back into her pocket and she straightens a bit, giving him a smirk. "Take me home, but then I want you to attempt a full nights sleep." A fingers goes up along with her brows, to simply state that she will hear no argument on this, before she plances her hand in his.

The smirk is mirrored in turn — a subtler version, and there is no real promise in the grip that Hiro gives Kaylee's hand, for all that it might signify some form of comraderie back at her. The snow's been coming down harder since they paused to wait before the trip back— or forward— home, turning into a whiter flurry that dances around the awning of the store, gets blown beneath it to whisper between them both. If you're in the right frame of mind for it, the fluffy dance of snow might remind you of the way ash plays in the air in the wake of disaster.

Opposite to touch, however, cold and wet instead of dry and warm. Kaylee can still feel the mild sting of it by the time she's appearing back in her apartment, and fresh cold still tingles on her skin, as morning light knifes through the window of her apartment. It's warmer.

"Hey, you're on time," says a male voice — familiarly accented and toned. Joseph sets aside the newspaper, picks himself up onto socked feet and moving on over to loop arms around her waist with a faint smile. There's a blink of surprise, seeing the quickly melting snow on her skin, clothing, in her hair. He observes, "You're cold."

There have been worse conditions Kaylee's arrived in. There could be worser ones still, like so much ash caught in the wind.

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