bolivar_icon.gif darius_icon.gif

Scene Title Braced
Synopsis The blizzard's white peace is disrupted when two of Manhattan's residents run into each other bringing close personal darkness with them. Which is to say, Darius is running when one of Bolivar's dogs runs into him, and the other keeps the peace.
Date December 21, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

It's somewhere around 9am in the morning, or just before. If one were retentive and had a watch, it would be 0843hrs GMT-5. So says the impact resistance watch that Darius wears on his left wrist as he jogs through central park in snug fitting leggings and windbreaker. Both are a dark blue to contrast the light grey mock turtleneck he wears. White athletic shoes round it out as he rounds a bend to follow a bike path through the park. As cold as it is, the park isn't quite so populated as it might have been.

Falling somewhere between anal-retentive and merely aggravated with people who are altogether sloppy, Bolivar is exercising his dogs at the same time of morning that always finds him exercising his dogs. Nothing's going to get in the way of that; not even the half a dozen college students tumbling around in the snow, and parents building snow forts with their children, and lovers taking the morning off to be together, and crap like that.

A tiny Welsh spaniel yips by his side while he throws a stick for another dog, a far larger shepherd, whose hulking, swift-footed presence is gradually creating enough general anxiety among the concerned parents and other revellers to open a zone of bitter quiet up for him.

Not that most don't give him a wide berth anyway: atrociously burn-scarred, alone, characterized by a trenchcoat; he might not be large or quick, but Bolivar tends not to encourage proximity. He grinds his heel into the snow and pitches his weight backward. Winds his arm, and throws the stick a little too far and a little too soon; doesn't notice the jogger coming around the bend until Nina Lou is charging right for him. He shouts out a warning.

There's a shout. A glance. A dog. The jogger sets his shoulder, two steps bracing his feet, and the dog bounces off of the man like he were a brick wall or an NFL linebacker. After the impact, the man takes a step away and places a hand to the small of his back. From his left hip there's a small flash of silver as the windbreaker pulls up a touch. He doesn't say anything immediately. He's looking at the dog. Then the owner. And.. doesn't look quite all there.

Bolivar actually had his eyes insured, once. 20/20 vision; have to have it, if you're going to be a sniper worth anything. It helps that he doesn't read, either. The flash of silver is noted about a split instant after Nina Lou bounces off Darius in a growling tumble of fur and muscle, steely legs splayed on the snow, black lip curled more from training than instinct. She steps back and that, too, is learned behavior: commanded by the motion of her master's hand as he approaches, the smaller dog bouncing at his heels. Seven feet behind Darius, the stick slithers to a stop in the snow.

Darius looks like a man frozen in place. The dog. The man. Its like he's trying to figure out just why what he's seeing isn't right. The bouncing little dog seems to bring a sense of reality back to him and he relaxes into a less combattive stance. His hand comes away from his lower back and he looks to the man. "That your dog? Sorry about that." His tone started almost accusatory but ends apologetic, almost ashamed.

In this Bolivar's-eye-view of the world, the emotions that transition through Darius' face, posture, and voice are fairly standard issue. Hostility, astonishment, staring, the retreat into remorse, hand from weapon. Fuck. His face goes ill-tempered, visibly, bracketed by vicious keloids on the left, and snow swatting his other cheek propelled by the wind from his right. He's well-aware that he should be the one apologizing. Doesn't.

"I don't think you hurt her," he answers flatly. "Lou." The bigger dog goes to him, naturally; both canines and Bolivar end up staring at Darius. That is, staring up at him. "And you're just fine," he observes, with dry sentiment that is fairly difficult to take for unadulterated joy.

Darius blinks, eyes focusing on the man, a glance to the dogs. "Yeah. I am." He brushes his right shoulder needlessly. There's no snow or fur on it. The adrenaline that was pumping through his body slowly begins to flush through the system and his heart rate has already normalized. He takes a deep breath and kneels. "Sorry about that pup." Yes, he just addressed the dog. "You came out of nowhere." He doesn't attempt to touch the dog so much as just extend his hand a little for 'examining' should the animal so choose.

The enormous Shepherd stays out of range of Darius' hand, her angular features and stance going distinctly impassive, effectively shutting down; the way a patrol dog should. The younger dog, however, seems to pick up on something. A subtlety of Darius' tone when he answered— I am, or an off hormone leaking out of the pores in the hand that stretches out toward her larger and older counterpart. She steps forward, her dainty muzzle stretched forward, bright curls swinging at her chin. Her nose whuffs warm air against Darius' fingers.

Bolivar stares down at him, now, and isn't particularly cheered by the sudden reversal of their height disparity. "Nina Lou isn't a pup," he informs the younger man. "Though she isn't old enough to need a bullet in the head yet. Good job."

"Don't want to shoot a dog." Darius declares quietly as he lets the spaniel sniff at him. "It's not right. They're just doing what they're told." His eyes go to the patrol dog and he considers it a moment before taking a deep breath and rising back to his feet. He returns his gaze to Bolivar and gives him a faint smile. "See you 'round." He zips up his windbreaker a little, having lost some heat while just standing about, and turns to start his jog anew.

"Not everything they're told," the older man remarks bluntly. He's talking about the spaniel pup's overtures of friendliness. Doesn't like those. Then something happens in the peripheral of Bolivar's-eye-view: an artefact, a distortion, a nudge to shift his perspective by a minute but unmistakable degree.

As Darius withdraws, a whimper catches in Logan Rose's throat. Her feathery tail shifts once, flipping away a snowflake before lowering at her haunches.

Bolivar's grip tightens on her leash as the other man starts to beat feet. Whether out of hesitation, confusion, or an unkind preference to wait until actual conversation is actually beyond the realm of realistic expectation, he waits until Darius has paced far enough for him to have to shout: "Are you all right, officer?"

Darius turns about in his jog, slowing as he paces backwards. Two hands come up placating. "Semper Fi." It's a declaration of sorts that precedes his second about-face. Once more jogging away, he picks up the pace and is soon lost to the twists and turns of the park and folliage.

December 21st: Outside Our Control
December 21st: We Few, We Happy Few
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