Can't Say I Didn't Warn You


cardinal_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif

Scene Title Can't Say I Didn't Warn You
Synopsis Sometimes even a steel door doesn't ensure your privacy.
Date November 15, 2010

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

What was once a wellspring of knowledge and a an important part of New York city has become a bit of a dump since the bomb. But there are others who view the library as a bit more than just a lost cause. With it's structure sill generally intact, it works well as a shelter for people who didn't quite recover as well from the disaster as some, and newly so to the lesser fortunate survivors of the recent riots. To others, it is just a treasure hovel waiting to be excavated.

To Harmony, this is what the library has become for the evening. She didn't have much else to do, and she had been meaning to go to the library to find a few books. Yes, she could have just as easily went to the new one to check them out, but why do that when she could keep what she found here? In the ruins! It'd be an adventure, and it is also a chance to get away from the more tense atmosphere of the city.

The well dressed blond pushes aside the broken door, scooting her hips in and them pulling the rest of her body into the darkened building. Her leather jacket hanging open, and a black half-shirt worn over her torso with a green Space Invaders alien on the front of it, along with her signature tight pants. With a look of disgust, Harmony dusts off her hands and coughs dryly at the bit of dust that got sucked into her lungs. Her bright eyes start to take a look around, surveying the damage and the current condition of the place, stuffing her hands into her back pockets. "There's gotta be some books on radiation left around here somewhere.." she mutters.

According to the historians, only the finest marble was used to build the former main branch of the New York Library, which is why it weathered the nuclear storm of the Bomb so well — three feet of stone protecting it from the worst of the blast. It's had a checkered history since then, with a variety of groups having holed up here over the last few years when they needed to hide. The signs of it linger even in the lobby, police tape that had once been stretched across the doors from the last raid trampled into the floor.

A more subtle sign might be seen in the form of a CCTV camera that's slowly panning in the wake of the young woman as she walks into the library.

"Hello~" Harmony sings out as she begins to meander her way further into the library. She is a little cautious, being that this place is a little abandoned, and could certainly contain any number of lunatics at any given time. Though she still she braves exploration for her cause, which is the pursuit of knowledge. Free knowledge. Free, keepable knowledge. Consequences be damned, what else was she gonna do on an after riot Monday night? Well.. she could surely smoke the product she bought not long ago. But that would be unproductive and make her seem like a stoner. She is here to further her education!

Her figure passes the zooming camera which seems to follow her beyond her notice, the girl kicking a small bit of debris out of her way with a nudge of her boot. "Housekeeping~" she calls out, chuckling to herself. By now she believes no one is here, and is just sorta speaking out for her own peace of mind. She passes the doors through the reception area and into the main building. Already her search looks dismal, considering the condition of the card catalog to her right. Harmony groans is irritation and rolls her eyes. "Great.. where is a librarian when you need them? I'll be here all night at this rate.."

It's not long into that exploration that she discovers something that is entirely out of place in a ruined library like this one. A door, set right in the middle of a hallway not far from the reception area. It's no ordinary door, however, but one that appears to be made of solid steel, with STAY OUT spraypainted on its face in flaking black letters.

Well, that's not normal.

She moves over to the disheveled card catalog for a few seconds, picking up some of the crumpled and even some burned cards to take a look. Some of the words are faded, pieces missing. All-in-all, rather worthless for the purpose of locating a specific book. With an exasperated and dramatic toss of the paper, Harmony rolls her eyes and sighs, "Whatever.." she comments and shoves a broken table out of her way to continue on further inside.

Eventually, she comes to the steel door with words sprayed clearly across it. The blonde looking around for anyone that just might be nearby, as if someone could be watching her like some government plot or something. The notion is then pushed to the back of her mind as silly, and her hands come onto her hips, considering the door while she cocks one of those hips to the side, her black colored fingernails tapping across her tight pants.

Yeah. This door stops her….

…For about 15 seconds.

She brings her hand to her side, palm pointed down while she rubs her thumb in circles over her four fingertips, using her ability to agitate atoms and create a reaction, generating ionizing gamma rays. "'Kay.." she comments and thrusts her hand toward the door, a dangerous hum crackles from her skin, followed by a speedy shot of bluish white plasma-looking energy, lancing out from her palm and striking the door in one spot. There isn't an immediate reaction, as steel is pretty dense, but as Harmony stands there, pouring on the power, the center of the door starts to slowly glow orange and hot. There is a look of intense focus upon her face as the stream continues, and she realizes it isn't going to be enough. A second hand joins the first, producing a matching beam in the same concentrated place, strengthening the effect. Just.. a little more maybe..

Her eyes fill up with the same power, and a little larger third beam rockets out to add to the two, starting to put a hole through the door that bars her way.

It's not until the beam has started to cut through the door that there's a response from the inhabitant of the library, primarily because he had to go around another way to keep from being incinerated by the incidental backwash of her power's blinding light.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," a familiar voice echoes through the hallway past the sharp hiss of metal melting beneath the onslaught of a particle beam, "Harmony! Harmony, stop…"

Richard Cardinal, dressed in his flight jacket and sweatshirt, jeans tucked into sturdy boots, has just skidded around a corner behind her. He winces, averting his eyes from the light, one hand lifting to shield them. The sunglasses don't help enough.

It is probably a good thing he stopped her. She's been getting a little daring with her ability, testing her limits, seeing what she can and cannot do, and this? This is a little far for her. So much offensive force pouring from her at once. It is a wonder she can even hear him, with the ionizing cry of the screeching metal as it melts under her force. But she does, and for an instant it startles her. But startles her enough to cut the power. Her eyes blink a wince closed, and her hands come down, the glow from the beam cutting, leaving a smoldering and melted indent in the steel door in the wake of the stream.

Harmony whips around to the voice and as she opens her eyes, she discovers a few things. For one? Blur! Can't see right.. Eye beams have a disadvantage. And two? Ohhhkay.. dizzy now. All that power was probably not the best idea. "Who— who's— Whoa!" she blinks and staggers to her left in her loss of equilibrium, catching herself on a structure nearby, bumping her elbow in the process. "Fuck!" she cries out and grabs the appendage, sucking in air through her clenched teeth, starting to register the voice at this point.

"Richard? Richard, is that you? What are you doing here?" she blinks her eyes a few more times, clearing out the disorientation finally. "Did you put that door there?"

"Of course I— of course I put that door there," Cardinal splays his fingers a little to peek out from between them through his glasses, hand falling once he discovers that the plasma glare isn't flaring through the air, "What the hell possessed you to start cutting through it? Didn't you see the 'Stay Out' sign?"

She finally get the room to stop spinning, her eyes watering from the experience as she looks over to where the voice had come from. "Uh, yeah." she offers a smirk, which is about as sheepish of a look as he'll get from her, "I've always considered myself a bit of a rebel. I wanted a book. You think I'm gonna let some silly thing such as a huge steel door that reads 'Stay Out' actually keep me from my higher education? Not a chance in hell.." she jokes and steps in his direction, "Are you okay? I didn't—" she looks back to the door, and then over towards him again with concern, "I didn't hit you did I?"

"No, but that's a really expensive door," comes Richard's complaint, fingers rubbing at the nape of his neck as he regards the damaged door with a grimace, "I think I stopped you before you damaged it too badly… should be able to slap some patches on it to keep people from getting creative about breaking through…"

Feeling a little guilty, because she is, Harmony looks back to the door for a second and purses her lips, trying to smile as much as she can through it while lifting her eyebrows, "Sorry. I honestly didn't think anyone was here. I called out when I came in. There wasn't any answer so.. I decided to come look for a book. Curfew is about to hit, so.. I was gonna make a night of it." the girl shrugs her shoulder a little, "So.. what are you doing here?" her head tilts to one side, "And what's up with the door? I thought this place was generally abandoned."

"Oh, hell, no. This place has never really been abandoned for long… hold on, let me open the door, you can come on inside. It's kind've chilly out here," Cardinal aborts whatever story he was about to tell for the second offer, regarding the steel door a little warily as he steps to one side of the pool of molten metal that's dripped from the holes that she burnt into.

The light seems to retreat from around him, leaving him a silhouette that bleeds into a two-dimensional shadow across the wall - flowing towards the door and through the cracks about it, vanishing from sight.

A few moments later, there's a slow rasp of metal on metal, and the door starts to swing slowly open.

Harmony waits, watching him shift into a living shadow, like something from a horror movie. It sort of amuses her, considering how she watches them rather frequently. She moves over to the door to survey the damage she had done. She didn't quite make it halfway through, but there is of course a bit of damage. Which answers a question she had about her ability. She takes a step back as the seal on the door opens a second later, blinking and peeking into the opening with a grin, "That's the second time I've seen you do that. I've got all kinds of questions about that." There is a hint of flirt in her tone as if the questions she speaks of could have interesting inquiries in them.

"Watch out for the metal," Cardinal warns her in wry tones, reminding her of the damage and warning her of the lingering presence of hot - if now solid again - metal on the floor. Once she's within, he pushes the door closed fully, sliding a bar solidly into place to lock it securely. Well, aside from the hole in it.

"That's gonna be drafty," he murmurs, then slants an amused look to her before heading down the hall towards the soft illumination of electrical light further in, "Oh, you do, do you?"

When the door comes to close with a solid and secure lock behind her after stepping in. A strange sense washes over her, raising the hairs up on the back of her neck. Her ear visibly twitches and she gives a shifty eyed look from the left to the right. "Okay.. You're not gonna get all Saw on me or anything are you? I make a terrible hostage, and I'm allergic to mutilation. Tell you what though.." she gives a single clap and points at him with a grin, "I'll let you pull a little pain play if that's what you're into, in exchange for not killing me." It is a joke of course, which is usual for her in situations that might not be appropriate. Call it a defense mechanism.

She grins and follows him down the dark hall, "So.. Shadowman, just what have you been up to the past few days, and have you been sleeping? I'd hate to have to put you in a sleeper hold and force you to get some shut eye on principle… Well.. maybe not hate.." she grins.

A pair of hazel eyes roll behind the dark lenses of his shades, and he slants a look to her over their edge. "Please. Do I look like some kind've serial killer - slash - torturer?" After a few moments of walking ahead of her, his voice drifts back, "…don't answer that."

It's not long before the soft rumble of a generator becomes audible, and Cardinal leads her into one of the smaller reading rooms - smaller being relative - with a stack of security monitors set up against one wall showing various parts of the library in occasionally static-hazed images. There's a few long tables scattered in books and papers, chairs arranged around them. Shelves around the room are loaded with books that probably belong elsewhere.

"Sleep is overrated," he states with a shake of his head, "Just been… clearing my head. Didn't exactly think I'd get a lot of company out here."

Harmony gives him a few moments after he says that. Simply grinning and opening her mouth while letting him think about what he just said. When he speaks up and says what she suspected he might, the blonde laughs, "I was gonna say.. Richard Cardinal, you are a bad, bad man." she repeats from some time ago. A phrase that he will probably never live down, "I'd take you for a torturer if anything. A certain kind of torturer, which.. could actually be fun if you're good at it." she grins at him, following closely behind him into the open area.

"Hm.. nice place." she comments dryly as she looks around. "Clearing your head huh? What about?" Harmony finds her way over and just takes up one of the chairs, settling back into it, pulling the leather jacket off of her shoulders and planting it along the back end of the seat, leaving her in just her half-top. "What's been stabbing at you lately? Tell me what keeps the great Richard Cardinal up late at night."

It's warmer in here, thanks to the excess heat from the generator in the next room over - and the space heater tucked into the corner of the room, its grill glowing a sullen red.

The flight jacket, bearing Redbird Security and Chicago Air patches, is shrugged away from his shoulders and dropped onto the table before he drops himself down into the chair. "November eighth," Richard replies flatly, regarding her steadily for a moment, "We should've stopped it. We failed. I failed. And now look at the future we've made."

"Richard.." Harmony begins, her tone is very matter-o-factly. Her chair is the rotating kind, which means she isn't really going to sit still in it. She starts to swivel it from one side to the next, her back leaning comfortably back into it, using her legs to pivot herself. "You're only one man." she shifts her blue eyes over to look at him pointedly. "Maybe you're a great man, with innumerable talents and influence, but you're still just one. Man. Against the forces of space, time and if you believe it, destiny." she shakes her head, and she kicks her feet, pulling her chair to wheel itself quickly over to him in his. "No one can expect you to always win over something like that, not even yourself. Especially yourself. You're so hard on you, and you run yourself ragged from the looks of things. Look at you.." the girl purses her lips together, her finger reaching out to tap his glasses with a finger.

"I can see the dark circles without you even having to take these off. Do you have to take everything on your own shoulders?" her head tilts to one side, eyes looking up at him, "We'll think of something else, okay? We'll make it through this. You didn't fail, you tried and that's all anyone could ask for."

At the tap of her finger's nail against the dark lenses, Cardinal wrinkles his nose a little. One hand lifts to pull the shades off, revealing his weary features, the glasses used to gesture through the air in her direction. "That's what everyone keeps telling me," he admits with a slow shake of his head, "That I did all I could, that the future has inertia that we can't just push aside… and y'know, no offense, but I'm getting a little tired've hearing it."

The glasses are tossed to bounce a bit on the table, and he manages a wry, tired smile for her, "What's done is done. I just… know that I need to come at this from a different direction. So I'm going back to the beginning and giving it some thought."

He pauses, then adds firmly, "But I'm not just going to let destiny take its course."

Harmony doesn't know much about the space-time continuum, save for what she has watched in movies and such, and she isn't going to pretend like she knows more than he does, or that she knows what he should or shouldn't do. She bends forward in her seat, with her elbows and forearms planted on her knees, her wrists hanging relaxed. She just closes her eyes with her head dropped for a few moments, mulling over his words, yet keeping a relaxed smile on her face. "Heh." her eyes opening and tilting her head up to look at him. "Alright.. You win. You have my support in saving the world. Heck, I'll be your cheerleader if you want. I have to get behind something. So I guess getting behind someone who thinks he can take down destiny. So.. Mr. Shadow? What's your plan? I mean, you have to have some idea of what you're gonna do next. If you don't though, just realize that it's okay. You're not perfect.. Even if you seem like it to other people." she grins.

"So you're gonna be my cheerleader, are you? You have the outfit for it?" A smirk twitches to Cardinal's lips, one brow lifting in a raise up as he lets his gaze dip down and then run slowly upwards over her body, "I mean, you've got the build for it…"

The man leans back in his own chair with a soft creak of aged hinges, a hand lifting up to scratch against the stubble that shadows his jawline and neck in a thoughtful rasp of motion. "You really should just forget about all've this, Harmony," he says seriously, then, regarding her steadily, "You stick around me for too long and you're going to have blood on your hands too, and you don't deserve that."

"As well as the flexibility. Not to mention the gratuitous spirit and willingness to show it. Who says I can't do that in a short skirt?" The girl's brows raise as her upper row of teeth catch her bottom lip, following his gaze down the bend and curve of her body. "I do like to play dress-up, after all." Harmony walks her fingertips across Cardinal's knee, and up his leg, idly watching them. Her hand gets about halfway up his thigh before she stops, grins and then sits up in her chair, giving a quick spin around.

"Now don't go doing that, Richard.." she rolls her eyes, shaking her head. One foot reaching back and pushing off the boot on the other, and then doing the same for the first. As she leans herself back in her chair, she extends her legs to stretch themselves out across Cardinal's lap. "I'm sometimes known to do the opposite of what I'm told, especially when it comes to guys. I have it in my head, a notion that you're very much a heartbeaker. I probably can't imagine the string of women you have chasing after you. I uh.. spoke with Elle for one thing. However, knowing that, I still find it difficult to not stick my hand in the cookie jar. Call me a naughty girl, but…" she gives him an eye, similar to how he had just looked at her. "I do like my boys bad. And you shouldn't worry about me, either. My hands aren't as clean as you might think." another grin, "If anything, it's you that should maybe resist. I'm addictive, Richard. I've been known to induce fits of feening, and leave a trail of broken hearts."

The radioactive's irreverent manner elicits a slow shake of Richard's head, although he can't keep the edge of a smile from his lips. "Oh, god, Elle…" He brings one hand up, pinching the bridge of his nose, "She's… just got a serious need for approval, and gets attached to anyone who can offer it. She doesn't actually have a crush on me, she just… thinks she does." At least that seems to be how he prefers to think of it, apparently.

A hand drops down to her calf where it drops onto his lap, fingers curling in to massage it lightly as he smirks back at her, "Well. You can't say I didn't warn you. 'Cause I did."

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