huruma3_icon.gif ziadie_icon.gif

Scene Title Barros
Synopsis That's Agent Barros to you, fuzzy. Huruma plays pretend in order to get her hands on something that belongs to her.
Date February 25, 2011

East Harlem

East Harlem was and is still referred to as 'Spanish Harlem' or 'El Barrio'; a majority of its population is of Hispanic descent, especially originating from Puerto Rico. It also includes immigrants from around the world. East Harlem is no longer quite the low-income neighborhood it once was, due to the increase in housing prices across the board, but it remains one of the neighborhoods where making ends meet is merely difficult instead of impossible — in an economic sense.

The neighborhood is plagued by other problems. Although mostly unaffected by the explosion, the influx of refugees to East Harlem has compounded the issues present previously. Fresh foods, produce and meats alike, are scarce and expensive. Crimes of all sorts, from theft assault, are frequent; drug trafficking and use is extremely widespread.

Curfew has been creeping up on the evening like a looming tide, slowly pushing people back to their homes and away from the streets. While this is mostly figurative, what few patrols ramble down streets don't have much to do in the way of making sure people are in order. They spend slightly more time in East Harlem, but not by much; it is enough time to offer the twilight a chance to become more nefarious. Abandoned buildings are more apt to turn into places of ill repute, and today is no exception.

The man had been hanging around one particular corner for ages, it seemed- peering at his watch periodically as if he were waiting for someone, a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He is caramel-skinned and well dressed, in a suit and tie, black hair cropped short and sharp, canted hazel eyes giving an impression of a stray tomcat rather than a man about town. For most people, he's just a guy. For cops and detectives, he may as well be a point of interest, having stood around for so long before finally moving off in the direction of one of the abandoned tenement buildings along the street. He pushes aside the rickety door as if he lived there forever, and was simply going home. However, it is only about three or four minutes until he comes back outside and slips off.

Sans one duffel bag. He must have left it inside, but there is notably no lights in boarded windows, and no cars parked along its spaces. A handful of the homeless, though, dotted along in the shadow of a couple alleyways, obstinately huddled against the late February chill.

Ziadie's watched, looking for the most part like nothing more than another of the homeless people, from a nearby alley. He's got one hand on his cane, and the other hand tucked inside the worn leather jacket he wears, as if for warmth. No different than many. The cup of coffee that he'd cradled when he first settled, muttering to himself, is long empty, on the ground next to him, and occasionally, he draws out a paper bag, tipping the bottle inside of it to his lips.

But despite his seeming homelessness, the old man is alert, eyes every so often flicking to the man. And when the man making the drop has gone, Ziadie's grip on the gun inside of his jacket tightens. If there was anyone close to him, they'd have heard the sound of the straps on the belt holster being released so that the gun can, if necessary, be drawn.

Yet when he makes his way to the empty house, he does so in the way that most of the homeless would, testing several doors along the way, attempting to kick one, and then slipping in to observe. Inside, his body language is less helpless, more wary. The former cop is on as much of alert as the amount of alcohol in his system will allow him.

The building is as empty as it seems. The stairwell to the left side of the entrance curls around up onto the other floors, but due to the fact that there is a gaping hole in the middle of the first flight, chances are that the man that dropped his bag in here didn't go up there. That only leaves the first floor, which consists of a foyer full of mailboxes, and an old, empty office that likely belonged to the old superintendent. The door is missing from its hinges, dusty and lain against a far wall for probably ages. The mailboxes are dented in, one missing a little door of its own.

Inside the old office space, there's barely enough room for the cold metal desk along one wall, still covered in in-out boxes and littered with old debris. An old corkboard is peeling into flakes on the other wall, notes from years upon years ago finding nobody to finish the tasks, rendering the building useless. The furnace has no hope of ever being fixed.

Stuffed in the space under the old desk, is that dark blue duffel bag, slightly askew and having disturbed the fine layers of dust sitting on the threadbare carpeting.

The dust is something that the old man immediately notices, and he leans on the wall next to the door, attempting not to disturb too much more of it. Too much more, and whoever's eventually coming for it will notice. So instead, Ziadie leans back, hand on his gun, not visible from when someone first walks into the office. His cane is leaned next to him. His desire to see the contents of the package can wait. And waiting, waiting is what the old man is going to do.

He is not hidden there long, before a new sound reaches him. The crack and creak of the frontmost door opening, and then closing again. There are only two footfalls after it closes, putting the sound of a pair of boots on the floor. Not only boots, but the faintly imbued click of shoes with heels on them. They stop, at the inside of the front door, and guesswise, he can only imagine that whoever is there is checking out the visible situation same as he. The broken stairs, the dented boxes, the discolored carpeting from three feet inside the door onward. Looking at the same dust. And the worst part of this? He's trapped in that office.

A couple of strides pluck across the floor, long-legged and cautiously deliberate, creeping along. While whoever is there cannot see him, he cannot she them either; when the footfalls stop again, Huruma is on the opposite side of the wall, a pistol prepped in her hand and one shoulder leant against the off-white wall. Not only did she see him coming in, from her vantage across the street- but she could feel him there, as she crept in. Ziadie is unknowingly the subject of investigation, rather than the other way around.

"I do believe that you are interfering with m'personal business." The voice is hers, and hers alone; female, smooth, quite deep- like velvet. Huruma holds her pistol at the ready, lips slightly pursed and her eyes lidded. Dressed in a pitch black twill suit and a somewhat long coat, if he chooses to come out- she really looks more like a spook than a criminal. The only real color on her is the cream of a low-cut blouse and the deep red of the gems in her ears and on a necklace.

When Ziadie speaks, first, it's slightly unthinking, and not in English. Rather, it's Jamaican patois, with it's commanalities to both English and some of the African languages enough that Huruma may well understand. "And what would that happen to be?"

As he speaks, there's the sound of the safety being released on his handgun, which is drawn, leveled at the space in front of where the door once was, and a long moment passes, in which he says nothing. When he does speak again, it is in English, voice steady and level. "Show yourself." His voice betrays none of the surprise that he's feeling at having been noticed.

Huruma spent a chunk of her years in West Africa, so it comes as no surprise to her when she recognizes bits of what she hears, enough to make her tilt her head in silent question. She doesn't show herself, incidentally, because technically she has him at the same type of gunpoint. For the most part, however, she doesn't wish to cause some undue reaction from him. Just get her stuff and go.

"Are you Nigerian? Mmm. No, I don'think I will… I need t'get th'bag, I think you know this as well as I do." There might be a bit of a laugh inflecting itself in her purring of words. "This is an official business, and you, friend, are being quite a loose cog."

For his part, his own gun hasn't moved, leveled at the door. Ziadie does allow himself a bit of a chuckle, and shakes his head. "No," he responds, switching back to the patois to see just how much she can follow, with the occasional word he cannot think of in English. "I thought you might need it," he admits.

"But see, I am curious. And I suspect we could play this game, standing on either side of a door and pointing guns at one another, for quite a while." The older man has doubts, doubts that aren't voiced. She sounds younger, and he is getting on in years. And he knows it.

She knows it too.

"If I can guess from what I saw when you came in here… you are a good two-and-a-half decades older than me." Huruma's words are clear, and menacing in the way that a wolf's howl can be- and her inflections are mostly lost as she puts the facts out. "I can stand here for as long as it takes, for your muscles to grow weak and your mind to grow tired."

"But I don'want t'stand here forever. I have business that rides on a squad getting supplies."

Ziadie pauses, considering. His finger slips away from the trigger, and for another moment, he's silent, gun still leveled. There's quiet consideration, and his free hand brings out the bottle from his jacket. The crinkle of the paper bag should be familiar, as should the mental relief that accompanies it. "What business?" he repeats, plain, clear English this time.

There is a click of heel, exasperated in its thud against old, thin carpet. Huruma grits her teeth in silence, practically memorizing the man's emotional state from the other side of the wall.

"That information is classified…" Her voice is at a purr again, low pitched and plodding. "Presuming your confidence is true, if you put down your weapon I will put down my own." Though really, Huruma is not expecting him to- but her use of certain words, and her efficient sort of manner can easily lead him to believe that he is dealing with someone that is more black-ops than criminal. Technically, he is, to a certain degree.

"My name is Barros." A familiar Portuguese last name, off the top of her head, as Huruma quickly picks up on her own accidental advantage. "I need you to exit th'room so that I can finish what I need t'do."

Ziadie frowns. "Classified like hell," Ziadie mutters. He has no intention of putting down his gun, at the moment, and his finger finds the trigger again. "If that's true, you put down your own first." Another sip from the bottle, and it's slipped back inside his jacket. "Inside the door, where I can get to it."

There's a certain stubbornness to his words, that comes from the years he did spend on the force. Wistful memory drifts into the front of his awareness, nostalgia. The former cop doesn't trust spooks, not in the slightest.

Good thing that the package in the office is more important at the moment than making friends. She could, you know, just start shooting, but she kind of needs that damned bag. Huruma sighs, exasperated once again. She has a smaller one in the back of her belt, but at the moment all that he knows about is the heavy thing that she sets down at the edge of the door and nudges forward with her boot. He can see the tip of the leather shoe, somewhat pointed, as it nudges in the gun.

"I need it back when we are finished here." It is a hefty Desert Eagle, and given the situation- perhaps he figures she has that type of gun for a reason. Huruma hasn't told him a lie yet, and unbeknownst to her, that stupidly honorable part of her that skirts the edges of truth is probably coming in handy.

There's the click of the safety, and Ziadie nods approvingly. Then he's taken the cartridge out of his gun, and set them on the floor at the same time as he he picks up Huruma's gun, unloading it, so that it too cannot be fired. The nearly antique Smith & Wesson is a service-issue weapon, and he's loathe to put it down. That only intensifies the desire ranging on need for the bottle inside his jacket, something he struggles against doing where anyone else can see, as if that makes any difference.

That done, he moves into sight on the other side of the door frame, an older black man, definitely in his late sixties, salt and pepper in his beard and hair that's gone entirely gray. "Go on, then," he says, lapsing back away from English. "Though I would prefer you tell me who you are, beyond just a name." He pauses. "Ziadie." As if demanding she identify herself means he ought to give his own name as well.

"That is unfortunately, also classified." Huruma is tall- even taller than him- and the height of her boots puts her at a teetering point when she slides along the wall to meet him at the door. Her eyes are a startling shade of- nothing- just the little lines of iris and the dilated black pupils. The rest of her is not as intense, but yet- there's something still raw about her. Maybe it is however she knew where he was that puts an edge on some things.

"A name is all that I may give you." She shifts now, moving to sidle through the doorway to pass him, keeping her look on him as she backs into the room. Never gives him her back as precaution, regardless.

On almost an impulse, Ziadie picks up both his own gun, which is put away in it's holster, cartridge in hand still, and hers, which is idly passed between his hands. He's surprisingly limber for an old man, still able to bend and pick up the weapons without giving her his back at any point. "No, I think that if you want your weapon back, you'll tell me who you work for." His tone is firm, and there's a half a glance at where he's left his cane, a half a glance at the duffel bag Huruma is moving towards.

"To be technical…" Huruma scours her mind a little, and as she hefts up the duffel onto her arm and sidles out again, a quirk grows on her lips. "Homeland." And to her own terms, she really is protecting the homeland against terrorists. Not in the traditional sense, but- the difference here is that she is confident in her belief.

"You carry yourself knowingly." A short, somewhat abrupt compliment, as she stands out in the front room again, facing him at the door now. She makes no moves to cause him to be incapacitated, which should count for something, right?

He winces. Subjectively truthful or not, there's a hint of the objective truth that drives like a nail into Ziadie's head. "Who else?" The compliment is noted with a quirk of his eyebrows. There's no true menace behind Ziadie's questioning, the man is just curious. The magazine to her gun is turned around in his hands, slipped into his pockets while the paper bag comes out. There's only so long Ziadie can go at the moment, and he'd been pushing it.

"Tell you what, darling- you can keep th'bullets, if you just pass back my sidearm…?" Huruma smiles this time, the weight of the bag carried easy by her stature. She can tell that she is frustrating him, though to what ends she does know know- to him, she is just another one of those muddy spooks. One that manages to tell the truth and lie at the same time. Of course that would be frustrating. Huruma notes the bag as easily as ever, a faint distaste on her expression, though still- there is a mote of understanding there too.

Perhaps in her ultimate wisdom, she does not answer his further inquiry. As far as she is concerned, he knows all that he needs to. If she must, she'll leave her gun with him- it's not like he'll be able to dust a thing from them, and the firearm was not hers to begin with. Though it does hold a special spot in her heart, for all that a Desert Eagle can.

Her gun still in his hand, he moves across to take his cane as soon as the paper bag has been shoved back in his jacket, after a long sip. The knot in his throat eases, a little. Ziadie then steps out into the hall, cane in hand idly adjusting the medals on his jacket, medals that he's aware have already identified him as having been part of NYPD at one time. In the little game of cat and mouse they've been playing, he takes a few long strides to put himself between Huruma and the door, blocking her easy path of exit.

"I'm more than happy to give you both back," he says, looking up at her, "but I'd really, really like to know the answer to my question." Stubborn former cop, really. "And please, don't lie this time. And if we do this my way," he adds, "then no one has to know this happened."

Huruma resists crossing her arms, obviously displeased. And does he not think there's a back door? Come on.

"I work for an organization that specializes in special operations. For the purpose of making things simple for you, I will only tell you one more time that I am not permitted to explain further." And what she says, this time, is indeed the truth, not a tad subjective. The total truth is there for him to see.

"I am not lying t'you when I say that our moments together are intruding upon th'time that I need t'be an effective part of my team."

Ziadie grumbles under his breath, but the magazine is held out for Huruma to take, along with the gun. "And thirty-five years at what I did taught me not to believe simple answers to begin with. But no, you're not lying, so," he says, nearly a retort if not for the stabbing headache that's plaguing him. He takes a few steps back, towards the door, and there's a glint from under his jacket, a badge that carries more for the sentimental reasons, these days.

A moment longer, and Ziadie addresses her again. "And no, not Nigerian," he says. When she's taken her weapon back, he pulls out the covered bottle again, pausing and leaning against a stretch of empty wall, an attempt to fend off the headache. "Jamaican."

As an act of reasonably good faith, Huruma does not put the gun back together quite yet. She smiles thinly. "These days, everything is either too simple, or not simple enough. Th'middle ground was left behind after Midtown. We are both thirty-five year veterans of th'real world, at least." Only when he moves away from the door does she slink towards it, hands moving on their own to put the gun back together from pure memory of its form and weight.

"I see. Jamaican Patois, then? No wonder I could pick it apart…" Huruma looks genuinely amused now, noting his name and his various features in the back of her mind for later perusal, maybe revisitation on this incident. "Take it easy, unu…" As good as a goodbye, because in the next couple of moments she is heading out of the door, with only the click of boots and rustle of fabric to follow her.

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