Brilliant, Watson


claire_icon.gif hagan_icon.gif julian_icon.gif

Scene Title Brilliant, Watson
Synopsis Hagan makes astute observations.
Date December 15, 2008

Upper East Side: Biddy Flannigan's Irish Pub

Ever since Hagan saw the news, he's been in a pissier mood than is normal, even for him. He actually called in sick to work. Being sick to the bottom of your toes at injustice counts, right? He's seated at a little table with a good view of the monitor. There's a hockey game on, of all bloody things. But there's Bostonian types who drink here more than expats, and they sure do like their brutality on ice. He's got a pitcher in front of him that's half empty of the black stuff. The pint in his hand is nearly drained too.

Cure what ails you. Julian doesn't quite bother with a pint— he asks for a whiskey on the rocks and he gets it. Chilled hate in a glass. He knocks it back within moments and he hasn't even sat down yet, only just having arrived, and gestures for a fill up. He knows Hagan is right by the TV, he saw him almost as soon as he'd walked in, but honestly… the enthusiasm of drawing in someone like-minded has dulled. He doesn't even know, anymore, if there's anything to draw in. Still, he finds himself moving through the crowd, in his customary old but warm, practical layers of clothes, pale hands bare of gloves and wrapped about his whiskey glass, and face unshaven, just as pale. He kicks a chair aside so he can sit down at Hagan's table, not so much offering him a greeting as an acknowledgment. "Top of the morning," he says, wryly. It's probably not even near morning - or at least, he hopes it's not.

Hagan reaches into his coat for a cigarette. The package is crumpled and a few inside are crushed. He tosses the pack on the table and goes fishing for a lighter just as Julian approaches. He looks up at the other Irishman and blinks. "…you're not dead." Brilliant, Watson.

"Aye," Julian agrees, leaning back in his chair and utterly ignoring the aggressive sport going on on the TV just near them. A slower sip of whiskey is taken, and the glass placed back down onto the table, fingers spidering over the rim. "Why, were y'worried I might be?"

Hagan motions towards the TV, but it's not the Bruins he means. "I saw the bloody news. Or are you not one of them?" His brows go up and he leans in a little, over the top of his pint.

Julian seems to study Hagan a moment - there was, undoubtably, some sort of leak of information, and he can't help but feel like the cops are prowling around every nearby corner. And yet. "Nah, you got it," he says, somewhat carelessly and looking away, taking in their surroundings and shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "I was there, even." He speaks low, beneath the noise of the pub but for Hagan's benefit. "They came in acting like it was a drug raid or somethin' so you can imagine the firefight. Not enough to just come in and do their fuckin' jobs competently, am I right."

Hagan runs his fingers through his hair and leans on the table. "Christ," he mutters. Then he sits up and tosses what's left in the pint glass. "Is there anybody else left?" He speaks in low tones and he too casts looks around to see if anyone's interested in their chatter.

Good to see he's not the only one nervous about one's surroundings. Julian tilts his head back to polish off the rest of his whiskey. The glass has seen two drinks and one serving of ice and still the shards of frozen water are still mostly unmelted. He sets it down. "Let's fuck off, I hate this place," Julian proposes. It doesn't seem so much a whim as it does an invitation to talk somewhat freer.

"Right," says Hagan. He doesn't even bother to pour what's left in the pitcher into his pint glass. He just swallows what's there like it's water. Normally he'd be more paranoid about going off somewhere with someone the cops might be after, but he's had enough of playing it safe. He stands and shoves the cigarettes back into his pockets and shrugs on a wool coat. The cigarette he almost lit a minute ago is finally ignited.

Outside, it's at least a dry winter's night, although the clouds too dark to see above them are heavy and waiting to open the heavens. For now, it's just cold. Julian buries his hands in his pockets, and steers both he and Hagan away from the pub, down the street. "About fifteen or so got arrested," he continues, still speaking quietly in his mutt accent. "Others got shot and killed. But a good handful made it out. We knew they were comin' but we waited too long."

"So what the fuck are you going to do now?" Despite the curse, it's an honest question from Hagan. He inhales from the cigarette, the smoke mingling with the condensation of his breath. "No offense there, Jules. But I'm fucking glad I didn't meet up with you people earlier."

Julian gives a mirthless bark of laughter. "Same, friend. Probably good that the fireworks are over. If we wait long enough maybe they'll think we're done for good." Now, he takes out a pouch that resembles a wallet. Lined with plastic, it's clear it's where he keeps his tobacco, but it might just be mixed with something else just as leafy if one cares to observe. A few cigarettes he'd rolled previously are tucked away, and he takes one of these out and clamps it between his teeth. "We're not, though," he says. There is on a trace of uncertainty in his voice, if you can detect it beneath the hopeful conviction. "Somethin' like PARIAH doesn't just go away."

"I wouldn't imagine. I can't be the only one pissed as fuck about this whole thing." Hagan draws his own cigarette down from his lips and exhales smoke like a dragon. "Bloody…SWAT team. This whole SCOUT business sounds like another Homeland Security to me. Where the rules get all broken so they can go in and be militant and torture. This is a fucked country. And they say the Irish have troubles."

He hunches his shoulders a little, hands up to protect his lighter from the wind as Julian sets alight his own cigarette, and a moment later, his own cloud of smoke billows out to join Hagan's. Lighter and pouch pocketed, he picks up the pace once more. "It's why we're important," Julian says. "We've been through two leaders, now. Least, ones I've known. One got killed by some serial killing fuck who targets Evolved only, and you don't see the government tearing him down, now do you? No, you don't. And this time, a bullet in the neck from New York's Finest. I reckon that means we're doin' somethin' right in any case."

"Enough of a threat to warrant a whole squad of pricks with guns. Sounds about right to me." Hagan exhales and coughs a chest-rattling cough. "Are any of you fugitives?" He corners a look to Julian as they continue to stride along.

"Depends on your definition of the word," Julian says, somewhat darkly. "Runaways from the government? Yeah." A glance over his shoulder, as if expecting to see an entire SWAT team just casually following them, but there's no one. He has more to say but he seems reluctant, for now, opening his mouth to speak and instead taking a deep pull of cigarette smoke.

Hagan stops and stands in front of Julian. He searches the other man's face for a moment. "Look. I know you don't have any bloody reason to trust me, especially now. But if there's something I can do to help…" He motions with his hand to the side. "Not sure what the fuck I can do, but I feel like I should, you know. I waited too long because I was piss-scared. And I'm tired of it."

"Y'should be scared," Julian says, coming to a halt when Hagan cuts through his path. It's clear that the raid has shaken the otherwise brash young man somewhat, looking down at the pavement for a moment. "Look, it was an insider. Someone we shouldn't've ever trusted and did and she gave 'em everything she knew about us. It's gonna take a while before we even know what the fuck to do next as a group, you know? But someone'll step up." Not him, apparently. "When they do… they cut down our numbers. If you want in…" He inclines his head to Hagan, giving him a fixed gaze as if re-realsing his presence. "What is it you do, exactly?"

"Oh, I'm still scared. But I might as well be scared and doing something instead of scared of even trying. They'd probably deport me. Easier than charging me. Lesser fate than an American." Hagan exhales to the side and listens as Julian speaks. "Do? Do you mean…" he makes a vague hand-motion that might be interpreted as 'abracadabra.'

For the first time this evening, a genuine smile tugs just a little at the corner of Julian's mouth. "That's right," he encourages. "No offense but y'don't seem to be the type to be… I dunno, ex-military or something so handy."

"You never know. I could have been a commando." Hagan straightens and holds his head high as if a soldier. After a second, he breaks it. "No, you're right, that's bollocks." He takes one last drag from his cigarette and tosses it off. "Right. I suppose I have to show some trust myself." He looks around the street and once he's satisfied that no one's around, he extends his arms. Slowly, he starts to fade away, eaten up by shadows until he can't be seen. With Julian's proximity, he can still hear Hagan's breathing and the faint rustle of his clothing.

Julian raises an eyebrow, giving an expression of agreement that trust right back would be handy. Then, he watches the display, tracking the way the shadows seem to melt over Hagan's form. "Fuck me, that's handy," he says, "whatever that is," and glances down at his own hand. Low enough so that he's pretty sure he won't touch any skin, he starts to reach out to poke the space where Hagan was, out of curiousity.

Hagan makes the Pillsbury dough boy laugh. No, really. He does. Then the shadows fall away like parting fog, leaving the Irishman visible like before. "I can be -almost- invisible in the day as well, though that's a fucking strain and it's imperfect. I can blind you, and I can…you know…" he rolls a hand. "It's a version of seeing in the dark, except I sort of…feel."

Julian is nodding along, own mind racing ahead to where exactly such a talent could be handy… and the possibilities aren't entirely limited. Another twist of a smirk, and he nods once, taking a contemplative lungful of cigarette smoke and breathing it out again with mouth and nostrils. "I dunno where that'd land you on the government's super special little ratings scale of theirs, but it's better safe than sorry. Seen people go missing over lesser things."

"Fuck me. It'd be suicide to be registered. Dodged a bullet once. Had to bugger off in front of those SCOUT types. Do you know what the worst part of it was?" Hagan's starting to get worked up now. "The worst is they had no fucking proof or reason to think I was Evolved, yet they were still demanding I cough up a registration card. I mean…how does that even work? If they can't prove you're Evolved, then how can they demand you have a card?"

Julian winces at this news. The police aren't exactly known for just letting people go once they see a sign. "It's 'cause they're afraid," he mutters, scratching his jaw thoughtfully. "They don't want another 2006 nuclear explosion or whatever it is they're scared of happenin'. Like most of us could really do that much damage. Man who did that was a psychopath in any case." He tilts his head a little. Let's walk. He starts to move to do so, expecting Hagan to follow. "Back in the day, after the Linderman Act. I got convinced to register. I didn't know what the fuck was going on, y'know? I figured it'd stop me getting fined because god knows I can't afford that shit. Wound up in a prison like they're expecting a Hannibal Lecter. I didn't even do anything but try to obey the fucking law. I can't help what I am. Broke out, anyway, after somethin' like six months."

"You…got put into one of their bloody cages?" Hagan points off in a vague direction and falls into step beside Julian. "Bloody hell. How'd you break out?" Chronic smoker that he is, he pulls out another and lights it. "And what can you do that they'd shove you in a straightjacket?"

"PARIAH," Julian answers, with a nod. "They bombed the shit out of the facility I was in. Pretty good luck, I'd say. They took me in an'— well I didn't join up right away, but it was sort've inevitable. I didn't have anywhere else to go because the Powers That Be had already decided I was a criminal before I even did anythin'. If the shoe fits, right?" He glances Hagan's way, looking up and down and pauses for a few moments, and says, "If y'don' go down blazin' someday, your bad habits might do you in." He points to the fresh cigarette in Hagan's hand. And that's not entirely impressive, most people could make such an assessment, so he adds, "And I'm willin' to bet that hand of yours isn't feeling so good when y'go to use it. You develop that shit from, what is it, typing and whatever, right?"

Hagan looks at his hand and flexes the fingers. "So what, you're a diagnosing machine?" He rubs his wrist. "Carpal tunnel. It's from using a drawing tablet at work." And perhaps holding cigarettes. "It's not bad. Anti-inflammatories take care of it." He draws from the cigarette and exhales. Julian is given a long look. "I bet you can do more than tell someone they've got cysts if the government locked you up."

Julian shrugs in affirmation. "That's right," he says. "I could make it bad, is the catch." He seems almost shy - about as shy as an Irishman can get, anyway - talking about this subject. It's not exactly the most friends-winning ability there is. What is? Puppykinesis, maybe. "Anythin' that ails you, I can make it worse. More'n worse. Depends on what you've been through, anyway. I'd show you first hand but I think there's a policy against givin' people lung cancer right after you recruit 'em."

Hagan rocks back half a step and looks a little spooked at that explanation. "Fucker. That sounds bloody dangerous. You can kill people with a touch then?" He wiggles his fingers. "Bloody hell. I can't do anything like that. Must be useful." One hand goes into his pocket and he shuffles foot to foot. "Have you killed anyone?"

"It gets worse if I touch someone," Julian confirms. He doesn't elaborate anymore, hissing out a curse at Hagan's question and letting loose a laugh. His cigarette, smoked to a stub, is flicked aside, hands back into his pockets. "Y'should maybe get used to not askin' questions like that. Won't make you mighty popular with the group. We're not murderers but shit happens, you know?"

"No, I'm just trying to imagine what…that might look…and feel like." Hagan touches his chest, as if suddenly aware of his lungs. He eyes his cigarette and suddenly tosses it out. It hisses in a puddle. He wipes his hand. "I punched a kid once. Well, not a kid. More like a teenager. And he had brass knuckles."

"Not pleasant," Julian supplies, helpfully, watching Hagan's cigarette land in the puddle, but makes no other comment. Imagination really does do the job for him, Then , he raises an eyebrow at this. "That right?" He looks towards the other Irishman. "Was it fun, at the very least?"

"No, it wasn't fun. Somehow they managed to hand my ass to me in the bloody dark. I'm not much of a fighter if I'm not pissed." Hagan doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands when he's not smoking, so he shoves them in his pockets. But still, he shifts restlessly even as they walk

"Then that totally doesn't count," Claire muses of 'punching a kid' as she joins the duo. She almost introduces herself, but instead settles for flashing a grin at Julian. "What's my name, bitch?" The boys smoke, and Claire's maybe had a couple of beers. Everybody copes with stress in their own special way. Either way, she's at least stopped freaking out and crying. "You must be Hagan?" One and one equals a second Irishman.

At the sound of footsteps joining them, Julian pauses to let Claire catch up, the second genuine smile of the evening spared for the brunette. "That's Hagan," he confirms, and, to the other man, he tilts his head to the girl. "This is Claire. And you don't have to know how to hurt people," he adds. "You just have to know how to think quick and be useful."

"And who are you? Thumbelina?" Hagan squints at Claire, then glances to Julian as he speaks. "Claire, huh? What can you do, turn the world on with your smile?" Then he looks at both of them again. "You've been bandying my name about then, have you? That's a bit…flattering, but worrisome."

Claire smirks, "I'd toss my hat if I were wearing one." She reaches out and grabs Julian's hand - a symbolic gesture. Look, ma, no death. She just shrugs. "What about you?"

Julian smirks a little at Claire's show of her own ability, gripping her hand back. "Had to tell 'em something in case you were poking around for the wrong reasons," he tells Hagan, but silences to let proper introductions take place. In this day and age, it goes beyond just names, apparently.

"What is this, show and tell? Are you going to summon the children who toss peanuts at us and make us dance for pennies?" And Hagan was being almost nice. But now his defenses have gone back up. Defenses in the form of snarky humour. "Look, I'll just tell you. I can do shit with shadows."

"Nice," Claire nods appreciatively and doesn't let go of Julian's hand. "Please. I don't dance for pennies. I'm way more expensive than that." She tilts her head to one side and then peers sidelong at Julian, "You're right. He'd have fit right in.

"I reckon," Julian says to Claire, although he narrows his eyes at Hagan, pointing with his free hand. "Play nice, you asked 'er first. It's only polite." A tug at Claire's hand, to resume the walking - apparently, Julian doesn't like to just stand on the sidewalk and banter. For one, it looks more suspicious than a few people apparently going places. "He'd still fit in. We need numbers, don't we. More'n before."

Hagan eyes the hand-holding and suddenly feels like a third wheel. He hasn't got what you'd call, oh, social skills. That and the fact that he has no idea what to do with his hands if they don't have a tablet pen, a pint or a smoke in them means he's looking kind of twitchy. He tugs at his jacket or runs his fingers through his hair. "What, you still want a demonstration, then?" He trots forward and stands in front of them, then disappears. "Where'd I go? Oh right!" he reappears. "Here I am! Peek a fucking boo." Then he digs his hands deep, deep into his pockets and hunches his shoulders. Belatedly, he looks around to see if anyone saw that.

"Ooooh. Very, very cool." Claire raises her brows to Julian, "Makes us look kind of boring, don't you think?" She actually giggles and then presses the back of her free hand to her mouth to muffle a hiccup. "So not flashy. Well, depending on your definition of flashy."

"Throwin' yourself off the Empire State Buildin' and livin' to tell about it is pretty flashy, Claire," Julian says, but he's mostly watching Hagan, scrutinising him. After a moment, he lets go of Claire's hand to bury a hand in his pocket. A ticket of some sort, probably from a bus ride, is produced, and he holds his other hand out to Hagan. "Got a pen on you?"

"Yes, I have loads of them. My arse is a pencil case. Of course I don't have a f…wait. Here's one." Hagan shifts and tugs one from the inside pocket of his jacket. He hands it over to Julian. Carefully. "What? Empire State, what?"

"Nothing," Claire says quickly. "Is that your other ability? Pencil case? Handy. If you were a rockstar, you'd never have trouble with autographs."

Julian steers Claire to turn around, pressing the ticket on her back so he might quickly jot down something. In her beer'd state, this shouldn't be too difficult, though he takes care to make sure she doesn't move around too much. Once done, he offers the ticket, holding it with the tips of his fingers, instinctively avoiding any kind of contact. "If you think the police might come knockin' at your door," he says, "go here before they can. Sort've a safe house. It's not a kindness, it's a precaution - they know enough about us without anythin' they can beat out of you too." He nods once. "Memorise that if you can, then get rid of it. Got a way I can contact you besides godawful Oirish pubs?"

"Yes, because I'm an ideal candidate for women to throw underthings at," says Hagan with a sour look on his face. "I'm working on a giant…bra ball." He looks down at the paper Julian gives him. "I don't expect them to. I mean, I've not done anything to attract attention." Aside from being a crazy bastard. He fishes into his own pocket and pulls out a slickly designed business card. It says 'Schuster & Dale Advertising' and 'Hagan O'Sullivan - Senior Designer.' "Here. The cell's with me all the time. When it doesn't fucking die on me."

Claire holds perfectly still when Julian spins her around and makes an easel of her back. She may be beer'd, but she's not completely out of it. "Bra ball. Cute." She peers over her shoulder to Julian. "You sure know how to pick 'em, Je- Jules."

He tosses the borrowed pen back at Hagan, and pockets the card with barely a glance. Julian gives him a twist of a rueful smile and shrugs. "Just trust me," he says. "And call me paranoid all y'want, but you never do know. Last thing we need to be doing is gettin' anyone else taken in or killed." And with that sobering thought, he inclines his head to Hagan. "See you around, alright? I'm gonna get some more beers in my friend here and we'll talk t'you when we got somethin' solid to talk about."

"Right, right." And then Hagan's backing away. "I'd say I'd let you know if I hear of anything, but I'm not 'in the loop.'" He air-quotes. And then before things can get too much more awkward and third-wheelish, the Irishman lifts a hand in farewell to them and then trots forward. He melds into the shadows, but footsteps can still be heard as he heads off down the street.

"Nice to meet you, Hagan," the young woman says even as the man disappears. She can still hear him, so must hear her, yes? Then, she turns back to her partner in crime. "Aren't you a gentleman?" The brunette rolls her eyes and slugs Julian in the arm. "I actually need you to accompany me to the pharmacy for a couple purchases. Then we can get some more beer." She pauses for a moment and then Claire's lips twist into a grin, "I'm also taking over your bathroom for about an hour. You'll live, right?"

December 15th: Code 21.25
December 16th: Dashboard Jesus
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